Penn School of Social Policy & Practice to Host Screening and Discussion of “Traces of the Trade”


PHILADELPHIA — “Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North,” a documentary that explores a secretive legacy of slavery in America, will be screened Oct. 4, in Bodek Lounge of Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania.  Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, in conjunction with the African-American Resource Center and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, will host the 5-7 p.m., free, public showing.

Central to the film is the DeWolf family, established and respected in Bristol, R.I., but for generations the keepers of a secret from its past.  The DeWolfs were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.

“Traces of the Trade” follows Katrina Browne, the filmmaker and a DeWolf family member, and nine of her cousins as they retrace the trade triangle from Rhode Island to Ghana, where they visited centuries-old slave forts and dungeons, to the ruins of a family-owned sugar-cane plantation in Cuba.

“The film provides a rich opportunity to engage in a dialogue about race and the legacy of slavery in the United States,” Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School, said.

After the film screening, Dain Perry, a DeWolf descendent, and his wife, Constance, will host a discussion on race, reconciliation and healing.

“A film like this has the ability to foster dialogue and really stimulate discussions that can build bridges between races,” said Valerie Dorsey Allen, director of the African-American Resource Center

            A “sneak peek” of the documentary is available at