ST. LOUIS, Missouri — In honor of the Dred Scott 150th anniversary, an unprecedented African-American Family History Conference will be held in St. Louis on Saturday, September 8, 2007. Discover Your Roots includes ten classes and two featured speakers and is expected to attract persons from the Midwest region and beyond.

The keynote address will be given by community leader Julius K. Hunter, founder of the Julius K. Hunter & Friends African American Research Collection — a growing collection of census data, maps, books, plantation records and ship manifests to assist African Americans researching their roots. This collection is housed at the St. Louis County Library. He is author of Honey Island: A Broadcast Journalist Searches for his Mississippi Roots, a book that traces Hunter’s family history going back to his great-great grandfather, who was born a slave in 1825.

Featured speaker is Darius A. Gray, author and genealogist, who will share the nationally acclaimed Freedman Bank Records — a repository of family records for more than 480,000 freed slaves from the 1850s. These records offer genealogical breakthroughs for countless African Americans seeking to trace their roots. Gray can trace his roots to Missouri with a grandfather born into slavery in Independence, Missouri.

“St. Louis and Missouri are rich with resources to help African Americans trace their roots, and this is the first time they have come together in one place,” says Dana King, Chair, Discover Your Roots. “Anyone — from those persons just beginning to search for their ancestors to experienced genealogists — will benefit from the variety of classes.”

The St. Louis Missouri South Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is partnering with groups in the Midwest region to support Discover Your Roots. These groups include the St. Louis Genealogical Society; The St. Louis County Library; The Blackworld History Museum; The St. Louis Public Library; Community Education, Division of St. Louis Public Schools; The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Learn more and register today at, or call 314/345-4608 or 314/345-4613.