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WUNC reports from Greensboro about Guilford County and surrounding area.

Guilford Slave Deeds On Display At Civil Rights Center

A picture of a slave deed.
Guilford County Register of Deeds.
The Guilford County Register of Deeds has provided bills of sale from the local slave trade.
The Civil Rights Museum is hosting a launch party for the exhibit this evening at 6:00 p.m. Historians, educators, and cultural workers will speak at the event, which is free and open to the public.

Guilford County's Register of Deeds is putting bills of sale from the local slave trade on display at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro until October 31.

The Register of Deeds made information from these slave records available online several months ago for people doing historical and genealogical research.

County Registrar Jeff Thigpen says this new display can make the same information seem more real.

"You see the actual documents, you see the pen-to-paper," Thigpen said. "You can see the document that actually names those people who were buying and selling slaves. You can see the names of 10-year-old children who were sold."

"Bills of Sale: Slave Deeds" display is part of a larger exhibit. It explores the influence of local families including slave descendants, Quakers, wealthy politicians and leaders of the Underground Railroad.

"What this exhibit shows is that there were certain people whose freedom was particularly hard-earned. And I think that there are lessons that we can all learn from it," Thigpen said.

The Register of Deeds has digitized more than 250 names found in 30 property deeds books dating back to 1770s.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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