Slave Narratives

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves.  These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).  At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available.  This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.

A Black Confederate Veteran

“I well remember when de war came. Old massa had told his folks befo’ de war began dat it was comin’, so we was ready for it.

“Beforehand the master called all the servants he could trust and told them to get together all of the silver and other things of value. They did that, he explained and afterward they took the big box of treasures and carried it out in the forest and hid it under the trunk of a tree which was marked. None of the Negroes ever told the Yankees where it was so when the war ended the master had his silver back. Of course the war left him without some of the things which he used to have but he never suffered.

“Then de war came and we all went to fight the Yankees. I was a body servant to the master, and once a bullet took off his hat. We all thought he was shot but he wasn’t, and I was standin’ by his side all the time.

“I remember Stonewall Jackson. He was a big man with long whiskers, and very brave. We all fought wid him until his death.

“We wan’t beaten, we was starved out! Sometimes we had parched corn to eat and sometimes we didn’t have a bite o’ nothin’, because the Union mens come and tuck all the food for their selves. I can still remember part of my ninety years.
I remembers we fought all de way from Virginia and winded up in Manassas Gap.

“When time came for freedom most of us was glad. We liked the Yankees. They was good to us. ‘You is all now free. You can stay on the plantation or you can go.’ We all stayed there until old massa died. Den I worked on de Seaboard Airline when it come to Birmingham. I have been here ever since.

“In all de years since de war I cannot forget old massa. He was good and kind. He never believed in slavery but his money was tied up in slaves and he didn’t want to lose all he had.

“I knows I will see him in heaven and even though I have to walk ten miles for a bite of bread I can still be happy to think about the good times we had then. I am a Confederate veteran but my house burned up wid de medals and I don’t get a pension.”

-Interview with Gus Brown, an emancipated black slave


“I loved dem days, I loved dem people. We lived better—we had no money—we had nothing to worry about—just do your task. Spin wheel and reel and reel for the yarn. I filled my arms full of quilt—hand made. Had task; I done all my task, and I help others with their task so they wouldn’t get whipped; if people lazy and wont do, they got to be made to do; if children bad they get whipped—if nigger bad, they get a whipping.

“Old Satan wear a big shoe—he got one club foot. He can disguise himself—he make you think he got power, but he ain’t got any power. He get you in trouble and leave you there. I always pray for wisdom and understanding like Solomon. I pray all the time to our good Father. People say—’Why you call him Good Father?'” (Quoted from the Bible) “I love everybody—’Love thy neighbor as thyself.'”

– Interview with Richard Mack, 104 years old, an emancipated black slave

“Some time I sorry I’s free. I have a hard time now. If it was slavery time, I’d be better off in my body and easy in my mind. I stays wid my daughter, Emily. My old marster, Wateree Jim, is de bestest white man I has ever knowed. My race has never been very good to me.”

– Interview with Ed McCrorey (Mack), 82 years old, an emancipated black slave

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What is a multi-ethnic life?

“To erase the stain of racism in the SBC requires all racial groups within the denomination to preach reconciliation, to live multiethnic lives, and to reject and fight against he enduring effects of white supremacy with the gospel of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.” – Jarvis Williams, Removing the Stain of Racism
What does it mean to live a multi-ethnic life?
Is it by disallowing one single ethnicity exist? By blending them all? By not letting anyone marry a spouse of one’s own culture, ethnicity, or race? By preventing, morally or legally, one to have children that are not somehow of mixed ancestry, culture, color, etc? This appears the mirror opposite of Hitler’s experiment. The Nazis wanted a pure Aryan race. These people want a pure mixed race.
The great sin in the eyes of these racial grievance people is to be of one single ethnicity or race (re: white). Read what they’re saying through that lens and it will all make sense. The SBC will not be finished until all live multiethnic lives. “Multiethnic” means non-purely white lives. Pure white must go. It is wrong. Ergo, to be a pure white person is a sin. To have pure white kids is a sin. To have an all white home, church, business, school, neighborhood, community, city, nation, is sin. Ok, maybe not sin. But it’s not as “vibrant,” “radiant,” “Christ-like,” “developed,” “economical,”.
But, there is a sense in which to be white is to be diverse. We have Irish, Italian, Spanish, British, Scottish, Polish, German, Armenian, Russian, Swedish, American, New England American, Southern American, Appalachian, Sicilian, etc. The goal of these anti white critical race radicals is to reduce all whites into a reductionistic category and then condemn that monolithic category, which only shows they don’t understand white people in the slightest. They have invented a reductionist analytic hermeneutic that blinds them to the complexities of reality and of history. They know little of white history (see Anthony Bradley’s FB page on African Americans and the European Reformation), that for instance white people have a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities and histories, that white people have warred against each other, enslaved each other, plundered and oppressed each other, that in the twentieth century more white people died at the hands of other white people than all slaves brought from Africa abroad or all black people still alive on America today.
Much less do they know that they are awakening something in white people collectively which will not soon go back to sleep. They are reducing all white people to a monolithic category inside of which white people live and move and have their being and outside of which they claim white people cannot exist even at the minutest of levels? So be it. If they succeed in uniting all whites together against themselves, they will have created a monster as much worse than Hitler as the Western world is larger than Germany.

Norm or Novelty?

Someone recently said that while Muslim terrorists had attacked Americans in 9/11, we must remember that white Americans themselves were terrorists toward black people in times past. White Americans had committed great evil upon black Americans, and now others are committing great evil upon them. 

But is this a formula that could be said of other peoples? Could we say…

Native American tribes committed acts of terrorism upon other Native American tribes, so when white Europeans came in to commit acts of terrorism upon them they had no leg to stand upon? 

Black Africans committed acts of terrorism upon each other, so when they became enslaved and sold around the world to people who oppressed them they had what was coming to them? 

African peoples committed evil acts against other blacks by selling them, so the French came in to colonize them?

The Jews and Poles had committed great evil for some time, and then Hitler came in to annihilate them?

The people of India had committed great evil for some time, so the British came in to subjugate them? 

The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans had done horrible acts of terror to each other, so when the Spanish came in to conquer them they really had no reason to complain? 

The people of Tibet had done horrible things in times past, and then China came in to annihilate them and annex their country?

The pigmies in Australia had done atrocious deeds to one another, so they were overrun by another nation?

Rome had done horribly gruesome things, so the Gauls came in to overthrow them?

The nations in the land of Canaan committed abominations, so Israel came in to destroy them as the land spew them out?

Or is this only applicable to modern, white, Westerners?

Lots of Things

This video from “Prager University” argues that the Civil War was about slavery.

Slavery was an issue, no doubt. A sinful, unbiblical practice – no one denies. Yet, to simplify history thusly is a gross mischaracterization; one that cannot account for a myriad of stubborn facts.

For instance, the general’s explanation does not account for why the Cherokee Indians threw their lot in with the cause of the South in terms explicitly reminiscent of the Declaration of Independence. The Cherokees declared in no uncertain terms that, to them, the issue was freedom and liberty over tyranny – and this coming from people who didn’t own slaves and were neither white nor European nor did their society depend upon an aristocratic agrarianism:,1861).aspx

The general said that Southern whites thought blacks as inferior. Yet, this sinful view was not particular to the South. Lincoln himself held a convictional, consistent doctrine that black people were inferior to whites and were in need of being shipped back to Africa (which policy was already established by previous Northern politicians and is the cause of the creation of the country of “Liberia”) Lincoln further specified that his primary concern for ALL that he did was not to free slaves but to perpetuate his nationalist view of the Union:

The general’s thesis that slavery was the main cause of the Civil War does little to address the fact that around the same time as a nationalized view of the Union became prevalent in America, there were similar nationalists revolutions in Europe. A decade prior to the American Civil War, dozens and dozens of other “several and independent states” all over Europe suddenly formed into nations through forced and often violent revolutions and civil wars of their own. (Many of these revolutions failed and those who supported them had to flee. Some of these revolutionaries came to America and continued their revolutionary ideals in the North):

Following this, and perhaps the most interesting view of all is from Karl Marx who said of Lincoln, “(Abraham) Lincoln is the single-minded son of the working class, who has led his country to the matchless struggle for the rescue of the Communist Revolution and the reconstruction of the social order.”

Yet another view of the cause of the war came from Maryland in 1861, which viewed the situation as revolving around liberty and tyranny, but this was before Lincoln jailed their legislators, governors, and pro-Southern newspapers:

This is but a sample of the many issues revolving around the Civil War other than the legitimate ones mentioned by the good general. Other Issues Thinking

Widening Our View

From Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals:

“Slavery was an evil of greater scope and magnitude than most people imagine and, as a result, its place in history is radically different from the way it is usually portrayed. Mention slavery and immediately the image that arises is that of Africans and their descendants enslaved by Europeans and their descendants in the Southern United States—or, at most, Africans enslaved by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. No other historic horror is so narrowly construed. No one thinks of war, famine, or decimating epidemics in such localized terms. These are afflictions that have been suffered by the entire human race, all over the planet—and so was slavery. Had slavery been limited to one race in one country during three centuries, its tragedies would not have been one-tenth the magnitude that they were in fact.

“Why this provincial view of a worldwide evil? Often it is those who are most critical of a “Eurocentric” view of the world who are most Eurocentric when it comes to the evils and failings of the human race. Why would anyone wish to arbitrarily understate an evil that plagued mankind for thousands of years, unless it was not this evil itself that was the real concern, but rather the present-day uses of that historic evil? Clearly, the ability to score ideological points against American society or Western civilization, or to induce guilt and thereby extract benefits from the white population today, are greatly enhanced by making enslavement appear to be a peculiarly American, or a peculiarly white, crime.

“This explanation is also consistent with the otherwise inexplicable contrast between the fiery rhetoric about past slavery in the United States used by those who pass over in utter silence the traumas of slavery that still exist in Mauritania, the Sudan, and parts of Nigeria and Benin. Why so much more concern for dead people who are now beyond our help than for living human beings suffering the burdens and humiliations of slavery today? Why does a verbal picture of the abuses of slaves in centuries past arouse far more response than contemporary photographs of present-day slaves in Time magazine, the New York Times or the National Geographic?

“It takes no more research than a trip to almost any public library or college library to show the incredibly lopsided coverage of slavery in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the meager writings on the even larger number of Africans enslaved in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the vast numbers of Europeans also enslaved in centuries past in the Islamic world and within Europe itself. At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800, and some European slaves were still being sold on the auction block in Egypt, years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed blacks in the United States. Indeed, an Anglo-Egyptian treaty of August 4, 1877 prohibited the continued sale of white slaves after August 3, 1885, as well as prohibiting the import and export of Sudanese and Abyssinian slaves.

Black_rednecks_and_white_liberals_bookcover“During the Middle Ages, Slavs were so widely used as slaves in both Europe and the Islamic world that the very word “slave” derived from the word for Slav—not only in English, but also in other European languages, as well as in Arabic. Nor have Asians or Polynesians been exempt from either being enslaved or enslaving others. China in centuries past has been described as “one of the largest and most comprehensive markets for the exchange of human beings in the world” Slavery was also common in India, where it has been estimated that there were more slaves than in the entire Western Hemisphere—and where the original Thugs kidnapped children for the purpose of enslavement. In some of the cities of Southeast Asia, slaves were a majority of the population. Slavery was also an established institution in the Western Hemisphere before Columbus’ ships ever appeared on the horizon. The Ottoman Empire regularly enslaved a percentage of the young boys from the Balkans, converted them to Islam and assigned them to various duties in the civil or military establishment.

“Ironically, the anti-slavery ideology behind this process began to develop in eighteenth century Britain, at a time when the British Empire led the world in slave trading, and when the economy of most of its overseas colonies in the Western Hemisphere depended on slaves. Here again, the baffling present-day disregard of an international saga of strife, full of individual dramas as well as historic consequences, seems explicable only in terms of today’s ideological agendas. While slavery was common to all civilizations, as well as to peoples considered uncivilized, only one civilization developed a moral revulsion against it, very late in its history— Western civilization. Today it seems so obvious that, as Abraham Lincoln said, “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” But the hard fact is that, for thousands of years, slavery was simply not an issue, even among the great religious thinkers or moral philosophers of civilizations around the world.

“We may wonder why it took eighteen centuries after the Sermon on the Mount for Christians to develop an anti-slavery movement, but a more profound question is why not even the leading moralists in other civilizations rejected slavery at all. “There is no evidence,” according to a scholarly study, “that slavery came under serious attack in any part of the world before the eighteenth century.” That is when it first came under attack in Europe.

“Themselves the leading slave traders of the eighteenth century, Europeans nevertheless became, in the nineteenth century, the destroyers of slavery around the world—not just in European societies or European offshoot societies overseas, but in non-European societies as well, over the bitter opposition of Africans, Arabs, Asians, and others. Moreover, within Western civilization, the principal impetus for the abolition of slavery came first from very conservative religious activists—people who would today be called “the religious right.” Clearly, this story is not “politically correct” in today’s terms. Hence it is ignored, as if it never happened.”