Brister English Project

My name is Walter "FormerLovePoet" English, and I founded the Brister English Project. I help American descendants of chattel slavery connect with their past through genealogy. I started this December 25th, 2021 with $1000 and a mission. Since then I've helped over 100 Black families directly at no cost to them, at no cost to them. I also maintain and update a database of collected free resources surrounding records on slavery and the reconstruction era.

Knowing not only how difficult genealogy is for Black Americans due to the history of this country, I don't believe we should have to pay for what was taken, destroyed, and hidden. The name of the project comes from my 2nd great-grandfather, Brister English who was born into slavery along with his son Robert. As someone who's been working on his genealogy for over a decade, I know firsthand all the struggles that come with researching one's family. I also know the indescribable feeling of placing an exclamation point where there once was a question mark.

So seeing Brister on a slave schedule, a slave ship manifest, and having conversations with Thomas Cassander English descendants, hit me hard. But what hit harder was seeing a photo of my great-grandfather Robert. Having his draft card, and seeing what he did for a living. So I wanted to provide the Black community with answers beyond chains and dreams. Because our families did so much more.

Genealogy is an expensive venture. To successfully continue this genealogy project, we would need funding for the following:

  • Research and Development: The project requires extensive research into the history of American slavery and its impact on modern-day communities. Funding is needed to compensate researchers, genealogists, and historians who will work on the project. I'm currently interviewing volunteers but I also would like a staff that can help. Their expertise will be crucial in helping us connect with our lost past and restore our cultural heritage.

  • Marketing and Promotion: To reach as many people as possible, the Brister English Project needs to promote our cause. Funds will be used to advertise the project on social media, print materials such as flyers, distribute press releases and organize events. Currently looking to do workshops starting in my home town and then hopefully the country. Talking to venues about doing workshops as we speak.

  • Technology and Infrastructure: Proper technology and infrastructure are essential for the success of the project. This includes purchasing and maintaining genealogy software, online subscriptions, securing servers and databases, website maintenance and development to make the project accessible to people all over the country.

  • Equipment and Supplies: To carry out this project, we require equipment, including computers, cameras, projectors, and audio equipment. This equipment will allow us to record and document every aspect of our research. As well as display it in future community events.

  • General/Miscellaneous Expenses: We need to pay rent, water, electricity, and other necessary expenses. Currently, my apartment is my office but would like a larger space. Looking to cover expenses like, transportation and logistics to ensure that the project runs smoothly. Costs could include rental cars, hotel bookings, and airfare. During the project, several unforeseen expenses may arise. To handle these expenses, we need to allocate a certain amount for miscellaneous costs that may come up.

The Brister English Project is an important initiative that connects people with their past. With your support and funding, we can accomplish our mission of providing a space for the American descendants of chattel slavery to tell their stories. Please join us and invest in the project that's transforming American genealogy.

Donations (223)

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  • Nora Root
    • $20 
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  • Emily Amphlett
    • $10 
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  • Andrea Cohens
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    • $50 
    • 2 mos
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    • 2 mos
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Brister English Project
Registered nonprofit
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