Tracing The Hairstons

Tracing the Hairstons is a three-part documentary series that explores the journey of the Hairston’s, one of America’s largest slave holding families from both the black and white perspective. Tracing the Hairstons reveals the struggles and triumphs of a family that is bound by a name through the worst atrocity in American History. This film allows Hairston’s themselves to tell their legacy stories. These Hairston’s tell stories of hardship, pain, bravery, plantation life, the “South” as it once was, triumph and legacy.



Tracing The Hairstons

The Hairston rock at Joe Henry's place.

Tracing The Hairstons

Everlee points to the slave cabin she grew up in.

Tracing The Hairstons

Researching at the Bassett Historical Center in VA.

Tracing The Hairstons

Visiting the Cooleemee Plantation



We have several prominent historians who are a part of the film series.  Henry Wiencek, who researched and followed many branches of the Hairston family for over 8 years is a prominent voice within the film.  Paul Finkelman will lend his legal historical expertise about the laws of slavery and early American history.  Orville Vernon Burton will take us on a historical journey after the Civil War and explain how American’s moved through the reconstruction years.



Tracing The Hairstons

Henry Wiencek

Tracing The Hairstons

Paul Finkelman

Tracing The Hairstons

Orville Vernon Burton



The intent for the film is to engage the audience through heartfelt stories and to encourage dialogue about the harsh facts of American history and how we as Americans can move forward through discussion about race.