Writings and oral testaments by slaves and former slaves testify to the experiences and struggles of African Americans. The following collections contain many of the most important and revealing narratives.
For authoritative overviews of events and people central to the history of African Americans and the civil rights movements, consult the following works:
- Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Oxford University Press, 2d ed., 2005. 3 vols.)
- [REF 960.03 AFRICANA 2005]
- Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas, edited by Colin A. Palmer (Macmillan Reference USA, 2d ed., 2006. 6 vols.)
- [REF 973.0496073 ENCYCLOP 2006]
- The Classic Slave Narratives. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Penguin, 1987. [973.0496073 CLASSIC]
- The most famous narratives: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African; The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave; Narrative of the Lfe of Frederick Douglass, an African Slave; Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
- Slave Narratives. Library of America. 2000. [305.567092 SLAVE NARR]
- Contains ten narratives, some by well known activists, such as Nat Turner and Sojourner Truth; William and Ellen Craft, a husband and wife who escaped slavery together; and Harriet Jacobs, who was subjected to brutal sexual harassment.
- I Was Born A Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives. Edited by Yuval Taylor. Lawrence Hill Books, 1999. 2 vols. [920.009296 I104]
- A compilation of twenty slave narratives including Henry Bibb, James W.C. Pennington, Solomon Northup, John Brown, John Thompson, William and Ellen Craft, J.D. Green, James Mars and others.
- Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. Edited by Henry Louis Gates. Bullfinch Press, 2002. [973.0496073 UNCHAINE]
- A compilation of 40 interviews with former slaves conducted during the late 30s by workers in the Works Progress Administration. Based on an HBO documentary with the same title narrated by Whoopi Goldberg [DVD 305.567092 UNCHAINE]
- The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives. Edited by T. Lindsay Baker and Julie P. Baker. University of Oklahoma Press, 1996. [305.567 W919]
- Interviews with former slaves during the late thirties and early forties.
- Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember. Edited by James Mellon. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988. [973.0496073 B876]
- Twenty-nine more narratives from the WPA project.
- African American Frontiers: Slave Narratives and Oral HistoriesBy Alan b. Govenar . ABC-CLIO, 2000. [973.0496073 GOVENAR African]
- Excerpts from slave narratives and oral histories including a lengthy introduction to the subject.
- Civitas Anthology of African American Slave Narratives. Edited by William L. Andrews and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Civitas/Counterpoint, 1999. [973.0496073 CIVITAS]
- Gathers writings by Mary Prince, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Henry Bibb, William and Ellen Craft, and Harriet A. Jacobs.
- Great Slave Narrativesby Arna Wendell Bontemps. Beacon Press, 1969. [326. 973 B644g]
- Includes an introductory essay by the author, with narratives by Olaudah Equiano, James W.C. Pennington, and William and Ellen Craft.
- Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr and William L. Andrews. Civitas, 1998. [973.0496073 P659]
- The autobiographies of five black intellectuals from both sides of the Atlantic.
- Puttin' on Ole Massa: The Slave Narratives of Henry Bibb, William Wells Brown, and Solomon Northupby Gilbert Osofsky. Harper & Row, 1969. [326.973 O83p]
- Contains three of the most memorable slave narratives.