Harris, Harrietta | Amistad Research Center
Harrietta Harris, professor, author and genealogist, opened the Black History Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1988.
Harrietta Harris was born August 12, 1952, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Harris graduated from Xavier University Preparatory School in 1970, and Dillard University in 1974 with a Bachelors of Art in Sociology. She received her Masters of Arts degree from the University of New Orleans in 1979. After graduating Harris taught courses in sociology at Southern University, Delgado Community College, Phillips Junior College and the University Without Walls. She also authored two books: Black New Orleans Tour Guide and The Pictorial Bastardization of a Race--the Destruction of a Civilization: A True Story about Black Pioneer Men and women; an American Tragedy; Color...Experience of Blacks in the United States, which gives an account of the turpentine industry and its black pioneers.
In 1985, after a visit with her uncle in Los Angeles, California, Harris became interested in her family tree. Her uncle gave her a picture of her maternal great-great-grandmother, Mittie Conway Cook. During her research, Harris discovered that she was a descendant of Bonds Conway, who was purported to be the first Black in South Carolina to purchase his freedom. He purchased his freedom from Zachariah Canty, who signed an affidavit with a bill of sale which acknowledged that Bonds bought his freedom and Conway settled in Camden, South Carolina, where he built a house and married Dorcas Heathcock. The Conways had one son, Edward Uriah Bonds, born in 1819 in Kershaw District, South Carolina.
While researching, Harris also collected a ledger book kept by Lewis Walter Cook while he worked in the turpentine camps in Mississippi. She also collected artifacts, documents, pictures, and tintypes which she used to open the Black History Museum in New Orleans, La. on August 12, 1988.