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American Slave: A Composite Autobiography

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2023 3:20 PM

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Commonly known as the WPA Slave NarrativesAmerican Slavery: A Composite Autobiography provides an authentic portrait of life, culture and survival for African Americans during the periods of slavery, Reconstruction and Depression-era America. Over 2,000 autobiographical narratives from former slaves in 17 states are included as part of this Federal Writer's Project (FWP) which was conducted under the auspices of the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and sponsored by the Library of Congress. Fully searchable by name, topic/subject, state, county and master indexes. The database provides the full-text of the introductory essay on slavery From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community by George P. Rawick.

Leads to full-text, digitized images of first person slave narratives.

Dates Covered

The project was begun in the 1920's with narratives collected during 1934-38, in 1939 and 1973. Publication was completed in 1979.

Print Counterpart

The American Slave: A Composite Biography
Lockwood Book Collection
CALL NUMBER: E441 A58 (Volumes 1-19)

A Comprehensive Name Index for the American Slave
Lockwood Reference Collection (Non-Circulating) 
CALL NUMBER: E441 A58 Suppl. 4

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Michael Kicey
424 Lockwood