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Book And Exhibit Offer Surprising Revelations About Slavery Before Civil War

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First Africans in English Colonies Historical Marker

University Showcase 8/16 8a:  In August 1619, the first kidnapped Africans arrived on the shores of Virginia, which was then a British Colony. This was the beginning of slavery in this country, but it was also a time when relationships were more nuanced and complex than we have been led to believe.

Sherri Burr
Sherri Burr

When Sherri Burr began researching her own relatives from this time and place, she found many assumptions she had were not true. Not all Blacks were slaves before the Civil War in the South and not all white people owned slaves. Her book “Complicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619 to 1865," explores this fascinating history.

Burr is the Dickason Chair in Law and Regents Professor Emerita at the University of New Mexico School of Law and is the author of 27 books, including this one. Professor Burr has curated a related exhibition that is at the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque through October 26.


Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.
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