After the end of the Civil War, formerly enslaved people began seeking out family members separated by the slave trade.
Starting in 1879, some people searching for loved ones began placing ads in a column called “Lost Friends” run by the Southwestern Christian Advocate. The ads were read aloud in black churches, in the hopes that social networks, however fractured by slavery and Reconstruction, could reconnect family members and friends.
THNOC developed a searchable database of these ads, which tells the story of the expansive cost of American chattel slavery. Read more about the newly expanded database on THNOC’s website.