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Bound to History: Leoncia Lasalle's Slave Narrative from Moca, Puerto Rico, 1945
Dr. Fernandez-Sacco's recent article is about interviews, enslavement, testimony, and the communities involved in a 1945 interview by the historian Luis Diaz Soler with Leoncia Lassalle then 112 years old, and her 85-year old daughter, Juana Rodriguez Lasalle's experiences under bondage. Fernandez-Sacco offers a context for the account, traces their family history, considers the multiple contexts for this narrative, the limits on archives, and how historical knowledge is made as we do genealogy that engages slavery & life post-emancipation. The need for a collaborative genealogical practice has never been so necessary.
Dr. Ellen Fernandez-Sacco is an independent scholar whose current work focuses on the genealogy and family history of people transitioning into freedom after 1870 in Northwest Puerto Rico. She's co-founder and moderator of Sociedad Ancestros Mocanos, a discussion group that began in 2004. She's also a panelist and curator for Black ProGen Live, hosted by Nicka Smith & True Lewis. Her publications & blog posts engage themes that constrain family histories and shape institutions also involved with genealogy that includes enslavement, eugenics, museum displays, and the aftereffects of violence. How do we navigate institutions designed to prevent the formation of a sense of historical self and agency? What Lasalle's account urges us to consider are the ways that genealogy navigates structural racism, then and now.
Opening music: Sweet Mellow Spice by AK Alexander