Last week while listening to one of the local talk radio programs I heard mention of a collection of stories told by former slaves about their lives. The collection was said to be housed in the U.S. Library of Congress. I love stories about history especially ones told by those who lived it so I decided to see if I could access these stories. Since an internet search produced positive results I thought I would share this treasure for others who might be curious about this part of U.S. history.
Thus far I’ve read just a few of the 2300 stories. I try to read one or two of these short stories each day. I am finding it interesting to read what these individuals experienced while living as slaves; during the civil war; and life after slavery ended.
The link below includes 17 volumes, organized by state in which the person lived, that can be downloaded in PDF format.
About this Collection
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA). At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.
Thanks for reading. 🙂