Oral histories and interviews with African Americans who endured the hardships of slavery. These recordings document the first-person accounts of several individuals whose life experiences spanned the period during and after slavery. The podcasts are drawn from several collections in the American Folklife Center Archives, one of the preeminent audio-visual repositories of national and international folklife, history and cultural expressions.
Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories - Wallace Quarterman
In this interview from 1935, Mr. Wallace Quarterman of St. Simons Island, Georgia, recalls the last days of slavery for Zora Neale Hurston, Alan Lomax, and Mary Elizabeth Barnicle of the Library of Congress.
Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories - George Johnson
In this interview from 1940, Mr. George Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, shares memories of slavery times, including his relationship with Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. The interviewers are Charles Johnson, Lewis Jones, John Work, Elizabeth and Alan Lomax.
Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories - Fountain Hughes
Fountain Hughes reflects on his childhood experiences before and after the end of slavery in Charlottesville, VA. Among other events, Mr. Hughes recollects slave auctions and the hardships endured by freed slaves after the end of the Civil War. A full transcript of this recording can be found at http://www.loc.gov/podcasts/slavenarratives/transcripts/slavery_hughes.pdf
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It is important we have these recordings to capture these voices. It is incredible to hear the thoughts of the people who were enslaved. The hope from some, the pain from others, the humanity from them all. I am surprised, frankly, that the audio quality is even as discernible as it is.
Pity sound quality is bad. Great our history has been preserved.
There is nothing like oral history. These first hand accounts of the horrors and inhumanity of slavery are invaluable. What I appreciate the most is the inclusion of the struggles of African Americans upon emancipation at the end of the Civil War. This man is over 100 years old at the time of this interview - not difficult to understand why it is hard to understand him periodically. More often than not, however, he is quite clear. Particularly, with regard to choosing between being slave or free- no question as to where he stands. Note: There are some things about slavery he would rather not discuss. He does note, however, that some African Americans would choose to return to their former status- Jim Crow made life so unbearable for most of them in the South. This is reality at its best. Can't wait for my students to listen to this interview and follow along with the transcript.