My Experience with the People Not Property Project

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Arwin Smallwood, Department of History, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Department of History

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


My research topic was dealing with the collection and recollection of North Carolina Slave Deeds. The goal is a part of a bigger project known as “People Not Property”, a joint collaboration with the University of North Carolina Greensboro and North Carolina A&T in an attempt to create a unique and centralized database of the bills of sales of enslaved people throughout North Carolina. In this process, I learned to both digitally and physically recognize a bill of sale, pertaining to an enslaved person, and record it on a spreadsheet in order to document the lost or untold stories of enslaved people in North Carolina. The most important lesson I learned during this research is how important the sense of community is on a local level. For this project, we outsourced the help of local people from several counties in North Carolina. The response was powerful, we would teach methods on how to archive slave deeds to rooms full of engaged and knowledgeable people who want to learn more about their past or find any connection to past relatives.

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