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Slavery and the Making of America
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

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Intro In Print Online TV & Video For Kids WPA Slave Narratives
WPA Slave Narratives
In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration sponsored a Federal Writers' Project dedicated to chronicling the experience of slavery as remembered by former slaves. African-American men and women born into slavery were interviewed. Their stories were recorded and transcribed. If you would like to learn more about the Slave Narrative Project, read interview transcripts, listen to recordings of interviews, or see pictures of former slaves, check out these multimedia resources.
Web Sites

The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920
http://dbs.ohiohistory.org/africanam/mss/gr7999.cfm
The Ohio Historical Society presents 27 interviews with former slaves that were collected by the Federal Writers' Project but never deposited in the Library of Congress.

American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/wpa/wpahome.html
The University of Virginia sponsors this site containing narratives, select recordings, images, and suggestions for further reading.

"Been Here So Long": Selections from the WPA Slave Narratives
http://newdeal.feri.org/asn/asn00.htm
The New Deal Network presents select narratives with accompanying lesson plans for teachers.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from Federal Writers' Project, 1936-38
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html
The Library of Congress offers this site as a guide to its online collection of more than 2300 interview transcripts. The site also contains pictures and sound recordings related to the Federal Writers' Project.

Slave Narratives: Black Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century America
http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/
units/1985/5/85.05.02.x.html

The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute offers this high school level curriculum unit revolving around the WPA slave narratives.

Slave Narratives: Constructing U.S. History Through Analyzing Primary Sources
http://edsitement.neh.gov/
view_lesson_plan.asp?id=364

The National Endowment for the Humanities sponsors this site for educators that provides lesson plans and activities based on the WPA interviews.

Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/
unchained_memories/index.html

This is the companion site to the HBO documentary "Unchained Memories," which features well-known actors and personalities performing dramatic readings of slave narratives.

Books



I WAS A SLAVE BOOK COLLECTION edited by Deborah Wyant Howell. (Washington, D.C.: American Legacy Books, 1994-)

This useful series of books divides the WPA slave narratives into thematic groups. 6 books are currently available in the 24 book series.
Book Cover - I WAS A SLAVE


REMEMBERING SLAVERY: AFRICAN-AMERICANS TALK ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF SLAVERY AND EMANCIPATION Berlin, Ira, et al. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1998)

This groundbreaking book-and-tape package contains interviews and transcripts culled from the Federal Writers' Project. Original recordings have been re-mastered and supplemented with dramatic readings by Debbie Allen, Louis Gossestt, Jr., James Earl Jones, and others.

Book Cover - REMEMBERING SLAVERY


THE AMERICAN SLAVE: A COMPOSITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY Edited by George P. Rawick. (Westport, [CT]: Greenwood Press, 1972-79).

Rawick compiles the complete collections of the transcripts from the WPA interviews in these volumes.

Book Cover - THE AMERICAN SLAVE: A COMPOSITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY


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