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African American History

Social Justice Guide Collection

Narratives & Oral Histories of Enslaved Persons

Featured Resources: Slavery

Slave Narratives & Oral Histories

"Former slaves made numerous referencesimage of Born In Slavery Collection linked below to their cruel treatment in the Work Progress Administration (WPA) interviews collected during the 1930s and 1940s.  The WPA Slave Narrative Project sought to capture the experiences of people during their enslavement before they passed away. It also provided work to unemployed writers during the Great Depression."


-From the article cited below, Recollections of Cruelty from Former Slaves (c. 1850–1865)


Featured Slave Narratives

Linked below are a collection of first-hand accounts from those enslaved. Find written materials, images, other primary sources, and more.

Slave Narratives & Oral Histories

Featured Oral History Collections

Consider the featured recorded interview here, or click on the links below to search for other oral histories.

"You wasn't no more than a dog to some of them in them days. You wasn't treated as good as they treat dogs now. But still I didn't like to talk about it. Because it makes, makes people feel bad you know. Uh, I, I could say a whole lot I don't like to say. And I won't say a whole lot more."

- Fountain Hughes - linked in the collection below.

Slave Narratives & Oral Histories

Featured Articles

Background Articles

Learn about why and when many slave narratives were recorded, as well as the importance of such narratives.

Popular Source Articles
Scholarly Articles

Slave Narratives & Oral Histories 

Featured Podcasts

Source citation: 

Recollections of Cruelty from Former Slaves (c. 1850–1865). (2020). In H. C. Covey & D. Eisnach (Eds.), Daily Life of African Americans in Primary Documents (Vol. 1, pp. 67-68). Greenwood.