“Quick Takes” offers a mix of news, opinion, and research related to race, privilege, and inequality.

Today’s “Quick Takes” includes racial profiling, textbooks with offensive stereotypes, movement on the Goodwin Liu nomination, and our film being screened in the Dominican Republic.

Readers are encouraged to share these stories and to offer their thoughts at the end of the post.

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Record in National Archives of Cuba of James D'Wolf's slave ship Jane, captained by William MunroAs I returned to the U.S. from Havana last night, the Associated Press released a story on our visit, “US family finds traces of slave-trade past in Cuba.”

The article has been running prominently in the U.S. and abroad, making the A.P.’s daily top stories list as their third-listed international story in the world.

I spent ten days in Cuba with Katrina Browne and Tulaine Marshall, and the article focuses on our visit Sunday to the site of the Mount Hope coffee plantation owned by my fifth-great grandfather, James D’Wolf.

The article, written by the A.P.’s Will Weissert, is quite impressive, and I’m particularly pleased with the way it ends:

While both she and Perry have worked to uncover their family’s role, they say no Americans – even those whose descendants came to the U.S. after slavery was abolished – should feel unaffected. The early U.S. economy so relied on slavery that it fueled a boom, making America an attractive destination for immigrants ….

“None of us,” Perry said, “are untouched by the legacy of slavery today.”

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I can now share that three of us from Traces of the Trade—director Katrina Browne, Tulaine Marshall, and I, are scheduled to travel to Cuba next week for the visit of the Amistad.

We are scheduled to sail into Havana’s harbor on board the Amistad on March 25, in conjunction with the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

We also expect to hold the Cuban premiere of the documentary, which was filmed in part on location in Cuba, in Havana on March 27.

Katrina and I have not been back to Cuba since filming Traces of the Trade, and we are eager to share the film with the Cuban people, as well as to engage in further historical research on the D’Wolf slave trade, continue the search for slave plantations owned by the D’Wolfs, and look for descendants of those enslaved by the D’Wolf family. We are also looking forward to reuniting with those who helped us make the film, including Cuban filmmaker Boris Crespo, who was our Cuban line producer.

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Katrina Browne accepting BIFF awardTraces of the Trade has won the best documentary award at the Bahamas International Film Festival in Nassau.

Katrina Browne, the film’s director and producer (pictured), was on hand last night to accept the honor, the “Spirit of Freedom: Documentary Award.”

Also winning awards at the festival were three dramatic films (in the categories of short film, narrative, and “new vision”) and three-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp (winning the festival’s career achievement award). The festival featured 68 films from 26 different nations.

In 1800, the sloop Fanny, owned by James D’Wolf of the United States, arrived in the Bahamas with a cargo of 54 slaves purchased in Africa. He was my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

I think it is only fitting that, more than two centuries later, a descendant of the D’Wolfs came to the Bahamas to screen a documentary in which several of us acknowledge the sins of our forefathers and strive to address their legacy today.

Katrina Browne at Cape Coast CastleMy cousin Katrina Browne has a commentary up this afternoon at CNN.com, entitled “Slavery needs more than an apology.”

Katrina is the director and producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. The film explores the history and legacy of our ancestors, who were the most successful slave-trading family in U.S. history.

In her commentary, Katrina writes about the significance of the U.S. Senate’s apology this summer for the nation’s history of slavery and racial discrimination. She discusses how little most Americans understand about this history or its enduring significance today, and asks why we cannot embrace this history and address its consequences in a positive spirit today.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North has been nominated for an Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The nomination is in the category of “Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research,” one of thirty-three categories for news reports and documentary films aired on national television in the last year.

Congratulations to Katrina Browne and the rest of our research team—Catherine Benedict, Beth Sternheimer, and Jennifer Anderson.

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Katrina Browne is interviewed today on NPR’s “Tell Me More” about the recent passage of a Senate apology for slavery.

The interview, conducted by Michel Martin, can be heard online here.

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Tomorrow, the Boston Globe offers a review of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, entitled “Facing up to a family’s past as slave traders.”

The review is occasioned by the screening of the film tomorrow night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as part of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. The film will be screened at 8:00pm, and afterward, Katrina Browne and I will participate in a question-and-answer period, along with editor Alla Kovgan and co-producer Elizabeth Delude-Dix.

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Traces of the Trade has been named the best documentary in the “Courage in Filmmaking” category for 2008 by the Women Film Critics Circle.

Gender played a central role in our discussions of race and privilege during the filming of Traces of the Trade, even though this issue did not appear in the finished film. So I think that this award, by an organization promoting the voices and perspectives of women in film, is a particularly fitting tribute to the work that Katrina Browne and everyone involved with the film has done.

The awards ceremony will be broadcast live on Wednesday, December 31 at 11am on WBAI-AM (New York) and streamed online at wbai.org.

Traces of the Trade has won the New England Emerging Filmmaker award in the documentary category at the 17th annual Woods Hole Film Festival.

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