slave narratives

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

The Slave Narratives Project, currently titled "Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1938," is comprised of some 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. The collection is housed at the United States, Library of Congress, and made available online through the Library's "American Memory" collection.

In the years of the Great Depression between 1936 and 1938, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers' Project (FWP) sent writers in seventeen states to interview ordinary people and write down their life stories, among them African-Americans once held as slaves. Whether or not one's ancestors were interviewed, the slave narratives provide a compelling account of what it meant to be a slave. In 2003 and HBO documentary, Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives, was presented featuring several well-known personalities.

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