My story is the story of America. My maternal ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War. I have seen the papers from this time. My father’s people were slaves and I have seen the census of 1870 when they had the name of their slaveowner, a name that had changed ten years later. I was born in a city above the Ohio River, a city known for its underground railroad to freedom. The spirits of my ancestors seemed to swirl around that river and a black person’s life was determined by which side of it one lived on. Researching my history continues to be an emotional journey. But America is a place where rivers meet and join and flow to the sea. Each history is the story of America.
-Neli Moody


Michele Norris is the host of NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of The Grace of Silence.

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