Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project composed from the year 1936 to 1938 is a collection of narratives of more than 2300 slaves in first-person. The collection also containing 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves is in a form interview by the writers of the Work Progress Administration (Bryant, 1938). In this essay, the narratives are mostly by the slaves from Africa who were taken to North America for slavery during 1930s.
The foremost remarkable initiative was taken from some former slaves like Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs and Fredrick Douglas who for the first time took an initiative to publish their personal experience of enslavement that they suffered (Douglass, 2015). They not only composed their sufferings but also highlighted the struggles that they confronted while escaping. This gave them an opportunity to present the realism of slavery. It is believed that there were 294 slave narratives in total that were mostly from the personal experiences of the slaves (Bryant, 1938).
The narratives which are generally in the colloquial language is quite challenging as there were pauses, discrepancies and repetitions. The narrative is a worth reading as it brings out the unpredicted details, the unexpressed feelings and concealed meanings that were embedded in the thoughts of the sufferers (Smithers, 2012). For instance, when Emma Crockett, a slave, spoke about beatings and thrashings she told the interviewers that “All I knowed, ‘twas bad times and folks got whupped, but I kain’t say who was to blame; some was good and some was bad’ (Smithers, 2012).
Thus, it can be concluded that narrative, Book on Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers highlights the life and struggles that these African-American slave encountered. These writings and the narratives remain an inspirational piece of inscription for one and all to overcome the hurdles in their life.
Bryant, R. Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936–1938. Missouri Narratives, 10, 61.
Douglass, F. (2015). Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass. Xist Publishing.
Smithers, G. D. (2012). Slave breeding: sex, violence, and memory in African American History. University Press of Florida.
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