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An Introduction to Dr. Joy DeGruy and Anti-Racism: Slavery

Dr. Joy DeGruy, an internationally renowned educator and the author of the book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, will be working with the District this year. This guide is meant to be an introduction to her work, and to anti-racism more generally.



A condition in which one human being was owned by another. A slave was considered by law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by free persons.

Chattel Slave

A chattel slave is an enslaved person who is owned for ever and whose children and children's children are automatically enslaved. Chattel slaves are individuals treated as complete property, to be bought and sold.

Chattel slavery was supported and made legal by European governments and monarchs. This type of enslavement was practiced in European colonies, from the sixteenth century onwards.

The Middle Passage

The part of the Atlantic Ocean between the west coast of Africa and the West Indies: the longest part of the journey formerly made by slave ships.


‘Maafa’ is a Kiswahili term meaning "great disaster" or "terrible occurrence." Descendants of stolen and enslaved Africans use the term Maafa instead of "transatlantic slave trade" or "middle passage" to accurately describe and honor ancestors and histories.

Atlantic Slave Trade


In an effort at full disclosure, it should be noted that while the collaborators on this guide have attempted to bring together quality, relevant resources, we are not immune from the limits and hidden biases of our own privileges and perspectives as allies. We welcome and greatly appreciate any feedback and suggestions for the guide.