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Akee Tree by Stephen Hanks


A Descendant's Search for His Slave Ancestors on the Eskridge Plantations

What would compel an African-American man to spend ten years of his life tracing his family tree from the Pacific Northwest back to slavery times in Mississippi, and ultimately to its African roots? For author Stephen Hanks his quest begins with mere curiosity when he reads the obituary of his uncle, and soon blossoms into a full-blown genealogical investigation. Using standard genealogical tools—interviews, census records, and other sources—he delves into the past, soon finding that he must follow two families, his own and that of those who held his ancestors in bondage.

The search takes on a life of its own when Hanks discovers some of the present-day descendants of plantation owner and slaveholder Richard Eskridge. With their help he is able to follow the trail back to Colonel George Eskridge of Virginia, whose namesake was none other than George Washington, the Father of Our Country. Hanks continues to probe, and eventually identifies and visits the homeland of his ancestors in Africa.

Akee Tree is not only an honest and unbiased exploration into one family’s history; it is a search for identity for a man and his people. Revealing and at times painful, the reader shares the joy of discovery and the shock of realization as author Hanks uncovers the truth about his ancestors. This objective and dramatic account is a powerful testimony to those who may share the same surname today but may have come from vastly different circumstances. In the end it is an affirmation of life and a powerful invitation to reach out to each other in the spirit of reconciliation.


Format: 6" x 9" x .6" perfect-bound paperback on acid-free natural paper, printed in the United States of America
Pages: 256, including a Foreword by Dr. Karmella Haynes, Ph.D., Preface, Acknowledgments, 15 Chapters, Epilogue, Sources, Index, Hanks family tree, Eskridge family tree, About the Author
Illustrations:54, including period photos, old newspaper images, current photos.
ISBN 10: 1-9399950-0-0
ISBN 13:  978-1-939995-00-1
LCCN: 2013935521

Price: $19.95 (Bulk order rates are available upon request)

About the Author

Stephen Hanks

Stephen Hanks is a legal process server in the state of Oregon, and a specialist in African American genealogy, volunteering his time in helping to promote African American genealogy through his network, Genealogical Networking Services. In 2006 Hanks was a contributor to the PBS special “African American Lives—Oprah's Roots” which examined the genealogy of Oprah Winfrey. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

(Author photograph by Shawna Herr-Harmon)


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This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 25 May, 2013.

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