December 2011 newsletter

Posted December 27th, 2011 by
Category: News and Announcements
Here is our December 2011 newsletter. If you would like to receive occasional e-mail like this from us, please click here.
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Dear Friend,

Now in its second year, the Tracing Center continues to engage people from all backgrounds in honest, productive dialogue about race, privilege, and the history of slavery, and to inspire action around these issues.  We hold a variety of ground-breaking programs and events that advance the mission growing out of our award-winning PBS documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. Your generous support ensures that we can continue reaching out to thousands of people across the country and internationally, and having a long-lasting impact on educators, students, public history professionals, faith-based communities, corporations, and more.

The Tracing Center has reached many exciting milestones in 2011. Highlights include:

  • We generated over 90 presentations across the country, and impacted thousands of people with our message of racial justice
  • We offered international screenings in Nairobi, Zanzibar, and London, bringing the film and our programs to broader audiences.  We returned to the Dominican Republic to present at a conference organized by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development in association with UNESCO
  • We partnered with the AmeriCorps Collaborative in Michigan to offer a program on Martin Luther King Day that was attended by over 500 people who donated 900 pounds of food for Feed America
  • We presented at United Nations headquarters, as part of the 4th Annual International Day of Remembrance of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • We designed and conducted innovative two-day teacher workshops for Massachusetts educators, at the Royall House and Slave Quarters and at Historic Deerfield
  • We engaged in in-depth programming in New England cities and towns, working to uncover their historic complicity in slavery and to engage residents in ongoing dialogues about slavery’s legacy
  • We expanded our Civil War programming, having an opinion essay, “Civil War’s dirty secret about slavery,” featured on CNN’s web site for the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the war at Fort Sumter
  • We began offering online webinars this summer, training evangelical college students for summer projects in urban communities
  • We initiated a multi-year collaboration to disseminate best practices for interpreting slavery at historic sites and museums, conducting trainings for the National Park Service and partnering with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Association of African American Museums, Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, and the American Association for State and Local History, among others
  • Katrina Browne has a forthcoming book chapter on the multi-generational psychological impact of slavery and its implications in the classroom
  • We offered programs at national conferences, including the Kellogg Foundation’s Healing America Conference, National Council for History Education, National Underground Railroad Conference, White Privilege Conference, and National Association for Multicultural Education

Throughout this year, your support has made it possible to advance our unique vision of racial justice and healing. Thank you for believing in our work and its possibilities. With your continued support, we are committed to reaching new and exciting goals in 2012. As we bring the hidden history of enslavement and its pervasive legacies to the forefront of public discussion, we will continue to inspire those working for a more just world.

Please consider making a donation today by visiting

Thank you.

The Tracing Center team

Want to reach someone at the Tracing Center?

James DeW. Perry, Executive Director
Katrina C. Browne, Director of Ideas and External Affairs
Kristin L. Gallas, Director of Education and Public History
Marga Varea, Director of Events and Development
Juanita Brown, Organizational and Programming Consultant

Office telephone: 617-924-3400

Thank you to our funders in 2011: Mass Humanities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Lear Family Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and many generous individuals.



“I learned more about the ins and outs of the slave trade throughout this film and discussion than I ever learned in elementary, middle, and high school combined.”
College student, Roger Williams University

“Last week’s workshop … ranks among one of the most meaningful I’ve ever attended and will have direct impact on the faculty I lead and the curriculum we teach. If I can ever serve as a voice of support for this initiative, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

Attendee at  our 2011 teacher workshop

“Thank you for sharing your family’s story about the slave trade.  It was an inspirational experience.  You engaged us with the power and personal meaning of the account with the video and then made it human with your sensitive, intelligent, compassionate, and courageous dialogue with us.  You helped us see a familiar historical event from a new perspective and helped us see its impact on our lives today and what we might do to address the inequities it created.  Your presentation was one of the most moving I have ever attended.”

David Costello, Head of School, St. Peter’s School

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Leadership transition

Posted June 24th, 2011 by
Category: News and Announcements Tags: , , , ,

The Tracing Center is pleased to announce that our founding executive director, Katrina Browne, has taken on a new role as our director of ideas and external affairs. This shift will allow her to dedicate her time to public activities, content development, and other work on behalf of the organization.

The board of directors has hired James Perry to be our new executive director. James was the founding board chair and president of the Tracing Center and has been centrally involved, since 1999, with Traces of the Trade, for which he shared an Emmy nomination.

Read the rest of this entry »

Civil War’s dirty secret about slavery

Posted April 12th, 2011 by
Category: History, News and Announcements Tags: , ,

We have an op-ed today at on how to understand the relationship of the North to slavery and race on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

The essay, written by Executive Director Katrina Browne and Managing Director James DeWolf Perry, builds on our ongoing work around the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the enduring historical myths which blind us to the legacy of slavery and race today.

Here is how the op-ed begins:

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War, a war that redefined national and regional identities and became an enduring tale of noble resistance in the South and, for the rest of the country, a mighty moral struggle to erase the stain of slavery.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on the beleaguered Union garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. By April 14, the fort had fallen and the war had begun in earnest.

By the time Fort Sumter was again in Union hands, following the evacuation of Charleston in the closing days of the war in 1865, the war had become the bloodiest in the nation’s history — and has not been surpassed. Yet the relationship of the North to the South, and to slavery before and during the war is not at all what we remember today. The reality is that both North and South were profoundly complicit in slavery and deeply reluctant to abolish our nation’s “peculiar institution.”

To read the full article, go to “Civil War’s dirty secret about slavery” at

Video of dialogue in Bermuda

Posted December 15th, 2010 by
Category: News and Announcements Tags: , , ,

In April, our executive director, Katrina Browne, was invited to Bermuda to screen Traces of the Trade and to facilitate dialogues on the history and legacy of slavery and the slave trade.

The following video, “Discussing the Trade,” was created by local filmmaker Alex Dill at one of these dialogues. In October, this video aired on local television in Bermuda, along with daily broadcasts of Traces of the Trade, as part of follow-up programming organized by the Tracing Center and Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB).

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