Roughly Speaking podcast: Solving the mysteries of a former slave's photo album (episode 162)

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In 1984, Pamela Rigby and her mother, Vivian Rigby, were winning bidders of a 19th-century photo album at an auction on Baltimore's Antiques Row. They soon discovered that the woman who had started and maintained the album, Fannie Keene, was a former slave who had lived most of her life in Missouri. The Rigbys went about trying to identify the dozens of men, women and children whose formal portraits appear in the album, and they had some success. But many of the people are still unidentified. 

By taking her project public, Pam Rigby hopes to continue her late mother's work, connecting African-Americans with the ancestors they likely never knew. Rigby has published a book about the album and her efforts to identify the people pictured in it. The book is, "Waiting To Be Found: The Lost Treasure of Fannie Keene." Pam Rigby has a website devoted to her project, and she hopes to reach people whose family roots were in Missouri and Illinois. She is scheduled to speak in the Writers Live series at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore on Oct. 18. Above is a gallery of some of the images from the album.

 


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