Fiche Film
LONG Métrage | 2008
Traces of the Trade : A Story from the Deep North
Pays concerné : États-Unis
Durée : 86 minutes
Genre : historique
Type : documentaire


Katrine Browne découvre que ses ancêtres de New England étaient les plus grands vendeurs d’esclaves de l’histoire des USA. Elle en fait un film.

Un film de Katrina Browne – Documentaire, 1h26 – USA – 2008

écrit par Katrina Browne et Alla Kovgan

Thèmes : esclavage, slavery

Réalisatrice / Productrice : Katrina Browne.
Co-Réalisatrices : Alla Kovgan, Jude Ray.
Co-Productrices : Elizabeth Delude-Dix, Juanita Capri Brown.

Produit par Ebb Pod Productions LLC
avec la participation de PBS
en association avec WGBH, Boston.


First-time filmmaker Katrine Browne discovers her New England ancestors were the largest slave traders in US history. Traces of the trade follows Browne and nine fellow de Wolf descendants as they set off to retrace the Triangle Trade : from their old Hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts Ghana and sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. Step by step uncover the extet of the North’s complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations.

by Katrina Browne – Doc. 86′ – USA – 2008

Producer/Director: Katrina Browne.
Co-Directors: Alla Kovgan, Jude Ray.
Co-Producers: Elizabeth Delude-Dix, Juanita Capri Brown.

In Traces of the trade, Producer/Director Katrina Browne tells the story of her forefathers, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Given the myth that the South is solely responsible for slavery, viewers will be surprised to learn that Browne’s ancestors were Northerners. The film follows Browne and nine fellow family members on a remarkable journey which brings them face-to-face with the history and legacy of New England’s hidden enterprise.
« A far-reaching personal documentary examination of the slave trade … The implications of the film are devastating. »
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

From 1769 to 1820, DeWolf fathers, sons and grandsons trafficked in human beings. They sailed their ships from Bristol, Rhode Island to West Africa with rum to trade for African men, women and children. Captives were taken to plantations that the DeWolfs owned in Cuba or were sold at auction in such ports as Havana and Charleston. Sugar and molasses were then brought from Cuba to the family-owned rum distilleries in Bristol. Over the generations, the family transported more than ten thousand enslaved Africans across the Middle Passage. They amassed an enormous fortune. By the end of his life, James DeWolf had been a U.S. Senator and was reportedly the second richest man in the United States.

The enslavement of Africans was business for more than just the DeWolf family. It was a cornerstone of Northern commercial life. The Triangle Trade drove the economy of many port cities (Rhode Island had the largest share in the trade of any state), and slavery itself existed in the North for over 200 years. Northern textile mills used slave-picked cotton from the South to fuel the Industrial Revolution, while banks and insurance companies played a key role throughout the period. While the DeWolfs were one of only a few « slaving » dynasties, the network of commercial activities that they were tied to involved an enormous portion of the Northern population. Many citizens, for example, would buy shares in slave ships in order to make a profit.

The film follows ten DeWolf descendants (ages 32-71, ranging from sisters to seventh cousins) as they retrace the steps of the Triangle Trade, visiting the DeWolf hometown of Bristol, Rhode Island, slave forts on the coast of Ghana, and the ruins of a family plantation in Cuba. Back home, the family confronts the thorny topic of what to do now. In the context of growing calls for reparations for slavery, family members struggle with the question of how to think about and contribute to « repair. » Meanwhile, Browne and her family come closer to the core: their love/hate relationship with their own Yankee culture and privileges; the healing and transformation needed not only « out there, » but inside themselves.

The issues the DeWolf descendants are confronted with dramatize questions that apply to the nation as a whole: What, concretely, is the legacy of slavery-for diverse whites, for diverse blacks, for diverse others? Who owes who what for the sins of the fathers of this country? What history do we inherit as individuals and as citizens? How does Northern complicity change the equation? What would repair-spiritual and material-really look like and what would it take?


DeWolf descendants

Katrina Browne
Katrina produced and directed Traces of the Trade, and founded the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery. She has an M.A. in Theology from the Pacific School of Religion where she wrote a thesis on film and democratic dialogue. She now lives in Washington, D.C.

Keila DePoorter
Keila and her sister Holly Fulton both grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Tom DeWolf
Tom is the author of Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History (Beacon Press, 2008), about his experiences during the family’s journey. For further information, visit his website.

Holly Fulton
Holly has been a French & ESL teacher and a diversity trainer in France and various states. She lives in Concord, Calif., with her husband, Bill, and gives talks and facilitates discussions as outreach for Traces of the Trade.

Elly DeWolfe Hale
Elly grew up in Reno, Nevada.

Ledlie Laughlin
Ledlie has been an Episcopal priest for 50 years, with parishes in Jersey City, Newark, Greenwich Village and Florence, Italy.

Dain Perry
Dain participated in the documentary along with his brother, Jim, and nephew, James (below).

James DeWolf Perry, VI
James is the executive director of the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, the organization founded to carry out the work inspired by Traces of the Trade. In addition to appearing in the film, James served as the film’s principal historical consultant, for which he was nominated for an Emmy® Award.

Jim DeWolf Perry, V
Jim was born in Providence, Rhode Island and is now retired with his wife, Shirley.

Elizabeth Sturges Llerena
Elizabeth creates art to raise awareness about the present-day impacts of the legacy of slavery and white privilege.


Juanita Capri Brown
As co-producer, Juanita co-designed the Traces journey and facilitated many of the family’s dialogues. She received policy-related degrees from Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, and studied in Ghana.

Harold Fields
Harold facilitates a monthly city-wide racial dialogue in Denver that has lasted for ten years. He participated in the documentary because of his connections with two family members, Holly and Keila. He has over 30 years of systems development experience with IBM and the airline industry.

Spouses of DeWolf descendants
There are several spouses who are doing public work with the film.

Shirley Dunn Perry
Shirley is a registered nurse, poet and workshop facilitator. She and her husband, Jim Perry, promote the documentary to encourage dialog about race.

William M. Peebles (Bill)
Bill is retired from a career as a psychotherapist and a pastor. He lives in Concord, CA with his wife, Holly Fulton. He and Holly are available to facilitate discussions of the film in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Constance R. PerryConstance R. Perry
Constance is a self-employed national consultant. Constance is a descendant of slaves in North Carolina.

Scholars and experts who appear in the film
* Robert Addo-Fening, Professor of History, University of Ghana
* Kofi Anyidoho, Professor of Literature, University of Ghana; award-winning poet
* Ron Bailey, Professor, African American Studies, Northeastern University
* Kevin E. Jordan, Architectural historian; Professor of Historic Preservation (retired), Roger Williams University
* Glenn Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Brown University
* Charles Ogletree, Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice and Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard University; Co-Chair, Reparations Coordinating Committee
* Joanne Pope Melish, Associate Professor of History, University of Kentucky
* Elizabeth Warren, Principal Historic Preservation Specialist (retired), Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission

PBS Premiere: June 24, 2008

Director, producer & writer
Katrina Browne

Co-director, editor & writer
Alla Kovgan

Co-director & executive producer
Jude Ray

Co-producer & executive producer
Elizabeth Delude-Dix

Juanita Brown

Director of photography
Liz Dory

Production sound mixer
Jeffrey Livesey

Original score by
Roger C. Miller

Handcranked Productions

Supervising editor
William Anderson

Consulting producers
William Anderson
Llewellyn Smith

Associate producers
Sara Archambault
Catherine Benedict
Heather Kapplow
Leslie Koren
Beth Sternheimer

Production Unit, United States:
Line producers
Amy Geller
Lucia Small

Second unit camera
Allison Humenuk

Second unit sound
Stewart Adam

Steven Ramsey

Production Unit, Ghana:
Line producer
Africanus Aveh

Content consultant & facilitator
Kofi Peprah

Second unit camera
Amishadai Sackitey

Second unit sound
Ebenezer Quaye

Francis Kpatah

Production Unit, Cuba:
Line producer
Boris Ivan Crespo

Production coordination & research
Patrice Migliori-Farnes

Unit production manager
Santiago Llapur

Second unit camera
Ariam R. Grass

Second unit sound
Ricardo Perez Ramos

Luis Manuel Escuela

Ovidio Gaston

Maria Teresa Ortega
Lisa Maria Cabrera

Script consultants
Patricia Garcia Rios
Adam Zucker

Historical consultants
Ronald Bailey
Kevin Jordan
James Perry
Joanne Pope Melish

Jennifer Anderson

Sound mix
Richard Bock

On-line editor & colorist
Michael H. Amundson

Music supervisors
Daniel Arriaga
Alla Kovgan

Music consultant
Marc Gidal

Assistants to producer/director
Maria Edwards
Leslie Koren
Jessica Majno
Liz Martins
Darcie Moore
Meredith Vass
Margaret Warren

DeWolf descendants appearing in the film:
Katrina Browne
Keila DePoorter
Tom DeWolf
Holly Fulton
Elly Hale
Ledlie Laughlin
Dain Perry
James Perry
Jim Perry
Elizabeth Sturges Llerena

Special thanks to others appearing in the film:
Kevin Jordan
Elizabeth Warren
Joanne Pope Melish
Ronald Bailey
Kofi Anyidoho
Robert Addo-Fening
Rockson Yaw Moro
Juanita Brown
Kofi Peprah
Josephine Watts
Jessie Ruth Gaston
Zoila Lapique
Harold Fields
Glenn Loury
Charles Ogletree
John Vanderstar
Carolyn Jones
Sheila Sims
Lynne Washington
Michael Kendall
Jayne Oasin
David Dobbins

Archival materials courtesy of:
Bristol Historical and Preservation Society
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
George Eastman House
Historic Deerfield
Lewiston Public Library
Joanne Pope Melish
The New York Public Library
Providence Public Library
Rhode Island Historical Society
the Rockwell family

Special thanks:
The Family of Ten
Elizabeth and Stanhope Browne
my grandmother,
Rosalind Howe Sturges Allen
Macky Alston
Orlando Bagwell
Ron Bailey
Edward Ball
John Bell
Lara Bergthold
Edith Buhs
Arrington Chambliss
Janet Cole
Chuck Collins
Jay Coughtry
Diane Dana
Harold Fields
Robert Forbes
Jane Gray
Angela Keiser
Pam Korza
John Lapham
Walter Leaphart
Norman Lear
Zena Link
Michele McConnell
Peggy McIntosh
Madeline McNeely
Joanne Pope Melish
Cara Mertes
David Miller
Jim Misenko
Joy Moore
Alyce Myatt
Drake Patten
Wayne Peacock
Carmichael Peters
Curran Reichert
Ed Rodman
Wendy Root
Ellen Schneider
Roderick Spencer
Gail Silva
Keith Stokes
Sam Waterston
Dedalus Wainwright
John White
Wayne Winborne
Maura Wolf
Alfre Woodard
The many people and institutions in Bristol
and throughout Rhode Island that supported us.
The extended family of DeWolf descendants and spouses.
Our many productions assistants and interns.
WGBH, Boston Media Productions, Filmmaker-in-Residence Program
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Episcopal Divinity School

Fiscal sponsorship provided by:
The Film Arts Foundation

Major funding generously provided by:
Akonadi Foundation
The Animating Democracy Initiative
(a project of Americans for the Arts
funded by the Ford Foundation)
Threshold Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Ford Foundation
Sundance Institute Documentary Program
Trinity Grants Program

Additional funders:
William Graustein
Philadelphia Foundation
Independent Television Service (ITVS)
Lear Family Foundation
Social Justice Office, Episcopal Church Center
Michele McConnell
Coolidge Family Fund, Boston Foundation
Elizabeth Marshall Mott
Kealy Family Foundation
National Endowment for the Humanities
Prince Charitable Trusts
S. Ford Rowan
Three Dog Farm Foundation
and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

And others. A complete list is available from PBS.
Produced in association with WGBH, Boston.
This program was produced by Ebb Pod Productions LLC which is solely responsible for its content.
(c) 2008 Ebb Pod Productions LLC



Katrina Browne ontdekte dat haar voorvaderen uit de familie DeWolf het grootste aandeel hadden in de Amerikaanse slavenhandel.
Samen met negen familieleden volgde zij in 2008 – het jaar van de herdenking dat twee eeuwen eerder de slavenhandel werd afgeschaft – het spoor van de’Triangle Trade’: een reis vanaf hun bakermat in Bristol, Rhode Island, New England naar de forten in Ghana, waar de slaven ingescheept werden, en de suikerplantages in Cuba, die nu verlaten en geruïneerd zijn.
Stap voor stap ontrafelen ze de historische gebeurtenissen, maar ook is er ruim aandacht voor de hedendaagse gevoeligheden bij interraciale relaties.

Dir. Katrina Browne, 2008

Duur: 86 min.
Taal: Engels
Ondertiteling: Engels
Weergave: kleur

Vertoning wordt mogelijk gemaakt door Africa in the Picture

Zaterdag 29 juni 19.30 uur
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