Location: Microfilm E 444 S52
Scope: Typewritten transcripts of oral interviews conducted with former slaves by the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938. Two thousand former slaves were interviewed about their families and childhood, their work as slaves, clothing and food, education, impressions of their masters, leisure and recreation, illnesses and medical care, and their impressions of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. They were also asked what they remembered of emancipation, the Civil War, and the Ku Klux Klan.
The microfilm collection also includes the appraisal sheets and interview evaluations with more information on the methodology and goals of the Federal Writer’s Project.
These same transcripts are available in print under the same title (General Collection E 444 F27) as well as in The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography , ed. by George P. Rawick (General Collection E 444 A45) and at Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project 1936-1938, a site with the Library of Congress' American Memory Project. Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project 1936-1938 also has photographs. Some of the transcripts and photographs are available at American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology, from the University of Virginia.
How to search the collection:
The Slave Narratives microfilm collection is arranged by states. At the beginning of each state is a list of the the people interviewed in that state. The Slave Narratives: Appraisal Sheets is also arranged by state, but doesn't have a list of the people interviewed in the state. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography has a Comprehensive Name Index (General Collection E 444 A522 1997). Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project 1936-1938 can be searched by keyword, subject state and narrator (person interviewed). American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology has an alphabetical list of the people who were interviewed.
For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out
Time Period: 19th Century 20th Century
Subject keywords: African American Studies