African-Americans must record and preserve the salient details of our lives and our histories for the benefit of future generations. We have the technology to do so, and we have the responsibility. We appreciate the value of such records when they exist, and we feel the pain of their absence whenever we wonder about the lives of our forebears.
We also know enough to realize the importance of eradicating any barriers to the recordation of our histories. People’s race, age, income, access to technology, education level – all of these are things their descendants will want to know about – not things that should prevent their histories from being recorded in the first place.
We could, of course, simply rely on governmental agencies to capture this history for us. But if we do not control what is recorded, how it is preserved, and who has access to it, we will always be at the mercy of others for information about our own history. Moreover, most people have neither the resources to travel around to individual document repositories nor the time to spend digging through whatever records may survive there. While a plethora of for-profit genealogical services (Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com, etc.) has facilitated access to important historical and genealogical information, such services are costly, and they are not designed to meet the needs of people searching for slave ancestors, free negroes, etc.
It is, therefore, the mission of Riverbends, Inc. to promote African-American genealogy and history through an innovative organization that remains nonprofit, independent, and online. The resources and services that are available through Riverbends, Inc. are designed to meet the needs of African-American amateur genealogists and historians, but everyone interested in researching and sharing information about their family histories will find value and inspiration at Riverbends.