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Tracing the Hairstons A Project of Documentaries

This three-part documentary series explores the journey of the Hairstons, one of America's largest slave holding families from both the black and white perspective.


FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS believes in the Hairston family legacy. Every donation counts! SO THANK YOU.

This film series is slated to be a true representation of American History.


"At one time the Hairstons — or "Harstons" as the white side of the family pronounces it — were the Rockefellers of the old South. They owned not one but dozens of plantations, and thousands of slaves. The descendants of those slaves are now a huge family scattered across America. And yet they still have a powerful connection to each other, and to the plantations where their ancestors toiled" writes Vicki Mabrey a 60 Minutes II Correspondent.

This three-part documentary series will explore the journey of the first Hairstons to arrive in America in the early 1700s and will show how American slavery helped the Hairstons become one of the largest slave holding families in American history. Tracing the Hairstons narrative unfolds through a series of interviews from elderly to middle-aged Hairston's. These Hairston's share their complex lineage along with legendary stories of strength, pain, perseverance and legacy.

This film allows Hairston's themselves to tell their legacy stories.

The National Hairston Clan formed in 1973, was created to bring white and black relatives together whose origins began in the nine main plantations. In the 1980s and 1990s the National Hairston Clan Reunions brought thousands of Hairstons together.

The New York Times, CBS's 60 minutes II and many local news outlets in the southern states have covered stories about the Hairston family and their dynamic family reunions.

Documenting Hairstons from all corners of the world will help the viewer understand how big the Hairston dynasty was during the 1700s-1800s and why the family is still large to date. As many families where racial lines can be blurred, their is controversy inherent to the stories from the descendants of the slave owner and the slave.

This film series gives first hand accounts of the Hairston's fascinating legacy through the Hairston's themselves. We understand why this dynamic family set it's self apart to be one of the biggest family names in America. The goal is for our audience to be engrossed in the time period of each story and to understand life from both the black and white lens. 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. Many American families have been affected by slavery's legacy along with it's burdens, our HOPE for this film series is to ease the historical divide between the races.

We are also very honored to have prominent HISTORIANS lend their historical expertise to the film.

Henry Wiencek

Henry Wiencek is an American journalist, historian and editor whose work has encompassed historically significant architecture, the Founding Fathers, various topics relating to slavery, and the Lego company. In 1999, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, a biographical history which chronicles the racially intertwined Hairston clan of the noted Cooleemee Plantation House, won the National Book Critics Circle Award[1] for biography.

Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman is the author of more than 200 scholarly articles and more than forty books. He is a specialist on American legal history, U. S. Constitutional law, race and law, the law of American slavery, the First Amendment, religious liberty, the history of the Second Amendment, African American history, the American Civil War, and legal issues surrounding American sports.

Orville Vernon Burton

Orville Vernon Burton is a professor of history at Clemson University and Director of the Clemson CyberInstitute.[1] He was formerly Director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (CHASS) and professor of History and Sociology at the University of Illinois.[2]

This film series can be watched and understood by many American families who's historical background share the same connection with the Hairston family.

We hope to complete TRACING THE HAIRSTONS by fall of 2018. We plan to submit Tracing the Hairstons at film festivals in 2018 after which time we plan to find the best distributer for the film series. We will make it available for educational institutions such as Schools and Universities to add to their curricula on American history.

Facebook is currently being used as a key tool for our social media strategy.

Tracing the Hairstons is a production under Straight Path Pictures, a female owned company.

Supported by 3 Donations:

  • Silhouette
    I Gave $250
    This will be a wonderful film!
  • Jetonia Renay P.
    I Gave $30
  • Silhouette
    Had to drop a coin in the bucket for the time you spent helping me out. Thank you, P.