Prince Wells III, associate professor in the Department of Music in the College of Arts and SciencesEDWARDSVILLE – For the sake of some distinguishing factors like slave practices affecting African American lineage tracing, efforts towards researching their genealogy have been faced with challenging situations. An upcoming Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Sankofa Lecture and Dialogue Series presentation will examine the uniqueness of genealogy research and accompanying challenges.

The ongoing series features robust conversations surrounding the history of slavery and its lasting legacies, and is organized through SIUE’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center, specifically its membership of the international Universities Studying Slavery (USS) consortium.

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Prince Wells III, associate professor in the Department of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences, will present “The Challenges of African American Genealogy” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2 via Zoom. Registration is available at

By sharing the historical perspectives on the issues surrounding African American genealogy, Wells aims to provide insights into the components of history that pose challenging situations for Americans tracing their origin back to Africa.

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“African American genealogy is uniquely different than any group doing genealogy research, because of slavery,” said Wells. “This poses significant problems for any American tracing their roots back beyond 1870. I’ll be sharing how difficult that is, and putting it in a historical perspective.”

Wells invites anyone who would like to travel through history toward understanding the African American plight in establishing ancestral lineage.

The Sankofa Lecture and Dialogue Series is one of the University’s many anti-racism initiatives. For more information on the TRHT and its future programs and initiatives, visit

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 13,000.

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