In the spring of 2015, actor Ben Affleck appeared on PBS’s Finding Your Roots, hosted by Henry Louis Gates. In preparation for the show, which traces the genealogies of famous Americans, Affleck requested that information about his family’s ownership of black slaves be omitted from the broadcast, though details about Affleck’s more noble ancestors, including his mother, who was a Freedom Rider, were highlighted. When the omission was publically revealed, Affleck admitted that he was “embarrassed” by ancestors who owned slaves.
The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University invites applications for its 2016-2017 Fellowship Program. The Center seeks to promote a better understanding of all aspects of the institution of slavery from the earliest times to the present. We especially welcome proposals that will utilize the special collections of the Yale University Libraries or other research collections of the New England area, and explicitly engage issues of slavery, resistance, abolition, and their legacies.