"Held in the Balance: The Trask 250" by Nicka Smith

October 4, 2021 - 5:30 pm
Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

(Amherst College ID required for Entry) Nicka Smith will discuss "Held in the Balance: The Trask 250" in this lecture. Nicka is a professional photographer, speaker, host, consultant and documentarian with more than 20 years of experience as a genealogist. She has extensive experience in African-ancestored genealogy and reverse genealogy, and is an expert in genealogical research in the Northeastern Louisiana area and researching enslaved communities.

Nicka has diverse and varied experience in media with a background in audio, video and written communications. She's appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC and the series Who Do You Think You Are? and has been interviewed by the Oakland Tribune, The Undefeated, National Geographic and TIME. She is the host of BlackProGen LIVE, an innovative web show with more than 125 episodes focused on people of color, genealogy and family history.

She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, a member of two lineage societies (Sons and Daughters of the Middle Passage [SDUSMP] and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR]), and a past board member of the California Genealogical Society (CGS) and the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC). Nicka served as the chair of the Outreach and Education Committee for AAGSNC and is the former project manager for the Alameda County, Calif., Youth Ancestral Project, where more than 325 youth were taught the value of family history. Additionally, Nicka is the family historian and lead researcher for the Atlas family of Lake Providence, East Carroll, La., and guides and coaches an active group of family historians at the "Who Is Nicka Smith" Patreon community.

"Held in the Balance: The Trask 250" will feature the Trask family, which ran a cotton empire in Mississippi and Louisiana valued at upwards of $4 million, all while largely retaining residency in Massachusetts and New York. Israel E. Trask was a donor to the Amherst College Charity Fund and served as a College trustee from 1821 until his death in 1835. He established cotton plantations in Mississippi with his brother before returning permanently to Massachusetts in 1822, where he ran a cotton textile mill in his hometown of Brimfield. Trask was active in Massachusetts government and charities throughout his life while spending several months each year on the family plantations. Discover how DNA shared by more than 350 people who descend from the formerly enslaved unearthed this discovery and how a multitude of documents detailing their lives have created a family history project documenting more than 6,000 people.

This event is sponsored by the Steering Committee on the Racial History of Amherst.

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Mike Kelly
(413) 542-5307
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