Edward Ball on The Inventor and the Tycoon

National Book Award-winning author Edward Ball recounts the relationship between Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) inventor of stop-motion photography that was integral in the development of motion pictures and his patron, Leland Stanford, former governor of California and railroad tycoon.  The author reports on Muybridge’s technological breakthroughs and his personal life, notably his admission of murder and his court trial that became a […]


ABC, “Oprah”: Edward Ball Apologizes on Behalf of His Ancestors

Edward Ball apologizes on behalf of his ancestors for their enslavement of over 4,000 slaves.


Review—on First Lady Michelle Obama and family history

Twelve presidents were slaveholders, and perhaps another dozen (including the two named George Bush) came from families that once upon a time owned slaves. In common with many of our most venerable institutions, the presidency has ample connection to “slavery time”: the White House is like an Internet link that, if you click on it, […]


New York Times Op-Ed, “An American Tragedy”

Hundreds of Confederate re-enactors moved into tent cities around town this week, and it is not uncommon to see men in gray uniforms, with prop rifles, at the Burger King. They have been camping out, waiting for the hour before sunrise Tuesday, when an antebellum 10-inch mortar is to fire a starburst shell over Charleston […]


Op-Ed, “Gone With the Myths”

ON Dec. 20, 1860, 169 men — politicians and people of property — met in the ballroom of St. Andrew’s Hall in Charleston, S.C. After hours of debate, they issued the 158-word “Ordinance of Secession,” which repealed the consent of South Carolina to the Constitution and declared the state to be an independent country. Four […]


NPR, “Tell Me More”: On genetic testing and family history:

Edward Ball is deeply interested in genetic testing to determine family history. Ball discusses his new book The Genetic Strand. Also joining the conversation is Rick Kittles, who helps African-Americans use technology to trace their roots through DNA samples.


NPR, “Talk of the Nation” on the descendants of slaves and slaveholders:

The Rev. Al Sharpton recently learned that he may be related to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond. Edward Ball, author of Slaves in the Family, talks about the connections between the descendants of owners and slaves. Listen on NPR’s, Talk of the Nation.


Op-Ed, “Ghosts of Carolina”

When I think of the situation of Trent Lott, who lost a wrestling match with his Southern past and was forced last week to resign as the Senate’s Republican leader, I’m reminded of a furry rodent called the nutria, which haunts the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta. A beaver-sized nuisance that gobbles up marsh grass, […]


On Slaves in the Family (Book Discussion)

Edward Ball talked about his book, Slaves in the Family. It examines the family histories of the slaves owned by his family on plantations in South Carolina. The family owned over 25 rice plantations with over 4,000 slaves, whose descendants number 75,000 to 1000,000. He used slides of many pictures from the book in his presentation. After […]


On Slaves in the Family

Edward Ball discussed his book Slaves in the Family, published by Random House. The book examines the history of the Ball family, particularly the black slaves that supported their livelihood and were an intimate part of their daily lives. He conducted a book signing after he spoke.