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When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection

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In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. One of the group's most noteworthy and enduring achievements was the Slave Narrative Collection, consisting of more than 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. One of the group's most noteworthy and enduring achievements was the Slave Narrative Collection, consisting of more than 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former slaves, who, in blunt, simple words, provided often-startling first-person accounts of their lives in bondage. This book reprints some of the most detailed and engrossing life histories in the collection. Each narrative is complete. Thirty-four gripping testimonies are included, with all slave occupations represented — from field hand and cook to French tutor and seamstress. Personal treatment reported by these individuals also encompassed a wide range — from the most harsh and exploitative to living and working conditions that were intimate and benevolent. An illuminating and unique source of information about life in the South before, during, and after the Civil War, these memoirs, most importantly, preserve the opinions and perspective of those who were enslaved. Invaluable to students, teachers, and specialists in Southern history, this compelling book will intrigue anyone interested in the African-American experience.


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In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. One of the group's most noteworthy and enduring achievements was the Slave Narrative Collection, consisting of more than 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. One of the group's most noteworthy and enduring achievements was the Slave Narrative Collection, consisting of more than 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former slaves, who, in blunt, simple words, provided often-startling first-person accounts of their lives in bondage. This book reprints some of the most detailed and engrossing life histories in the collection. Each narrative is complete. Thirty-four gripping testimonies are included, with all slave occupations represented — from field hand and cook to French tutor and seamstress. Personal treatment reported by these individuals also encompassed a wide range — from the most harsh and exploitative to living and working conditions that were intimate and benevolent. An illuminating and unique source of information about life in the South before, during, and after the Civil War, these memoirs, most importantly, preserve the opinions and perspective of those who were enslaved. Invaluable to students, teachers, and specialists in Southern history, this compelling book will intrigue anyone interested in the African-American experience.

30 review for When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    This short book is a collection of slave narratives gathered through interviews during the 1930s by interviewers of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project. There are a total of 34 narratives from slaves throughout the south. Each tells his or her own story that includes the moment when they learned they had been emancipated. They all lived a hard life. Some had more fond memories of their family and even their master's family, but most show the cruel treatment they endured and the lack of life-susta This short book is a collection of slave narratives gathered through interviews during the 1930s by interviewers of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project. There are a total of 34 narratives from slaves throughout the south. Each tells his or her own story that includes the moment when they learned they had been emancipated. They all lived a hard life. Some had more fond memories of their family and even their master's family, but most show the cruel treatment they endured and the lack of life-sustaining provisions, such as food, clothes, and rest. What I found interesting was the age of all of these slaves. For them to have lived without so many needs being met, with a lack of decent food, they all lived to at least their late 80s and even into the 100s. Obviously, these are resilient people. It makes you wonder what they could have accomplished in life if circumstances were different.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    It was a mistake to read this one after Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, because that is a single narrative; or, rather, a collection of narratives from a single person, taking place over an entire life span. In contrast, this book is a series of very short narratives from 34 different people. Because of this, although many of the stories are gripping/heartbreaking/rage-inducing, as a book it doesn't have the same power that Jacobs's work does. Despite this, an engrossing read. It was a mistake to read this one after Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, because that is a single narrative; or, rather, a collection of narratives from a single person, taking place over an entire life span. In contrast, this book is a series of very short narratives from 34 different people. Because of this, although many of the stories are gripping/heartbreaking/rage-inducing, as a book it doesn't have the same power that Jacobs's work does. Despite this, an engrossing read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    Personal stories always complicate the broad strokes of history and reinforce them all at once. The portrait of slavery here is both more and less cruel than the variety I grew up learning about. The barbarity of the system was its arbitrariness, where a slave was wholly at the whim of a master. The cruel ones in this book have a near nightmare quality. One of them murders his slave's wife and has him dispose of the body in the Mississippi River. Kinder masters (for lack of a better word) tended Personal stories always complicate the broad strokes of history and reinforce them all at once. The portrait of slavery here is both more and less cruel than the variety I grew up learning about. The barbarity of the system was its arbitrariness, where a slave was wholly at the whim of a master. The cruel ones in this book have a near nightmare quality. One of them murders his slave's wife and has him dispose of the body in the Mississippi River. Kinder masters (for lack of a better word) tended to have their slaves work for them after the war, although nearly every slave says no matter the master, they wanted to experience freedom. Even then, there are two slaves in this book who miss the old days. There is always somebody who contradicts the general trend. Overall, the mix of personal stories offers a complicated view of the master slave relationship while reinforcing the horror of the system. I dare any "race realist" to read the accounts of children and parents separated or of slaves beaten to a pulp and smeared with salt and pepper to "cure the meat" and not feel that this was wrong. It also becomes easier to understand why the descendants of the slaves remain in poverty. The Union army freed them but did little else and the average postwar wages reported by the slaves in these accounts is rather low. To a lesser degree, it will also be good for historians of race and slavery as well as social activists to recognize that not every slave hated their master, which may explain the absence of post-war accounts of slaves murdering their former masters. Indeed, the most interesting master in these accounts is Tabb. He seemed to not like slavery but was unwilling to set them free due to peer pressure. So he allowed them to escape in a trickle. Sadly, slavery was a norm of civilization until 150-200 years ago, and is still practiced to this day. For that reason alone every one should read this book. If I still taught in school this is what I would assign the students.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pam Walter

    It would have been hard for a white man or woman to write about slavery. It would have been hard for a descendant of slaves to write about slavery. With this book the stories are first hand. When I was a slave came into being during the great depression of the 1930s when FDR created the WPA, which funded the Federal Writer's Project. From the FWP this book is a compilation of interviews with former slaves, ages 84 to 120 years. Having read extensively on the subject of chattel slavery, I thought It would have been hard for a white man or woman to write about slavery. It would have been hard for a descendant of slaves to write about slavery. With this book the stories are first hand. When I was a slave came into being during the great depression of the 1930s when FDR created the WPA, which funded the Federal Writer's Project. From the FWP this book is a compilation of interviews with former slaves, ages 84 to 120 years. Having read extensively on the subject of chattel slavery, I thought that I had heard it all. I had not. Without exception, those interviewed referred to themselves as 'nigger'. Almost every ex-slave interviewed spoke of his/her fear of what they called Patterrollers - pattyrollers or paddy rollers [citation needed], , which were organized groups of white men who monitored roads, and enforced discipline upon black slaves in the antebellum U.S. southern states. Slaves were arrested or 'captured' for being off their plantation without a pass. The patroller's chief tools were whips and intimidation. Slaves were arrested and 'chastised' and then returned to their "Marsters". Apparently some were returned to the auction block to be sold to a new master often separating families. Of 34 narratives, probably 25 described being beaten, and that often meant 50 lashes with a bull whip. One woman told of her 8 month old baby sister being beaten to death by the Missus, for crying. Almost equally appalling to me were the poor souls who thought they had been so happy and loved because their owners never beat them and they weren't required to work on Sundays, and had plenty of food to eat. An accurate picture indeed. Five stars. Sad to think that as of today 1/20/2017, American progress in civil rights is taking a nose dive and that we will be returning to an era of bigotry and oppression.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    This book really impacted me. To read first-hand accounts of American slaves was extremely eye-opening. There was a vast range of experiences related. Many of them made me cringe - I am dumbfounded and ashamed that humans have the capacity to be so heartless and cruel to each other. There were also many examples of kindness in the midst of a horrible time. Reading this book has spurred me on to read some other, longer slave narratives.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jewett

    Enlightening This book should be required reading for anyone learning American history. We only get taught about slavery in school from the white perspective. It’s completely different when the people tell their stories themselves.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    This is what I call meaningful history. This collection of 34 different narratives told from former slaves is powerful and depicts the cruelty, inhumanity and complexity of slavery. Read it! Let their voices sink in...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barb Peterson

    The origin of this book = copied from Google reads = "In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. ." This project ran from 1936 to 1938. So the book is a collection of interviews with former slaves. Each story is fascinating. The range of slave owners empathy and cruelty is astounding!! Some slaves were treated like family - some w The origin of this book = copied from Google reads = "In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers' Project. ." This project ran from 1936 to 1938. So the book is a collection of interviews with former slaves. Each story is fascinating. The range of slave owners empathy and cruelty is astounding!! Some slaves were treated like family - some were so cruel we would not treat our dogs like that. It is a very eye opening experience.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tom Johnson

    This was our nation - this is our nation. 2016, We have elected a white supremacist to be our president - an orange one at that - maybe next they'll release Charlie Manson an we'll all follow him - 2016, 156 years after Appomattox and the body count in the battle over racism keeps climbing - the next 4 years are going to be hellish. The book was well put together - very small font - yet still easy to read - Wonderful artifact from the Roosevelt years. Good text, only one typo, "1868" should have This was our nation - this is our nation. 2016, We have elected a white supremacist to be our president - an orange one at that - maybe next they'll release Charlie Manson an we'll all follow him - 2016, 156 years after Appomattox and the body count in the battle over racism keeps climbing - the next 4 years are going to be hellish. The book was well put together - very small font - yet still easy to read - Wonderful artifact from the Roosevelt years. Good text, only one typo, "1868" should have been "1863". Unnerving how cruel so many of the "ol' miss" women were - every bit as sadistic as the men. Written in dialect with many obscure words (some google, some don't). Favorite quote from page 82; interview with Tines Kendricks at age 104 (sometime 1936-1938), "I ain't never been sick any in my life 'scusing dese last years, when I get so old and feeble and stiff in de joints, and my teeth began to cave, and my old bones, dey begin to ache. But I just keep on living and trusting in de Lord 'cause de Good Book say, "Wherefore de evil days come and de darkness of de night draw nigh, your strength, it shall not perish. I will lift you up amongst dem what abides with me." Dat is de Gospel, Boss." Many a slave was whipped for praying. The end of the Civil War brought a few years of respite but then the Ku Klux started and basically the death threats and harassment have never ended. Another great quote; this from Andrew Moss, aged 85, "De white folks what owned slaves thought that when dey go to Heaven de colored folks would be dere to wait on 'em." At long last, if there is any justice to be done that will not be happening. De white folk what thinks so will all be in Hell licking the Devil's arse. Ha!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian Setzler

    I didn't even now such a collection existed when I found this book at the MLK, Jr. memorial in Atlanta. This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the subject of slavery. Almost every one of the entries starts off with, "I was owned by......" This book is a collection of first-person slave narratives. Each entry is complete and unedited. Each person interviewed was born a slave and then was freed through emancipation. The interviews were conducted during the Great Depression as a pro I didn't even now such a collection existed when I found this book at the MLK, Jr. memorial in Atlanta. This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the subject of slavery. Almost every one of the entries starts off with, "I was owned by......" This book is a collection of first-person slave narratives. Each entry is complete and unedited. Each person interviewed was born a slave and then was freed through emancipation. The interviews were conducted during the Great Depression as a project of the WPA. The living, once former slaves were 88 to well over 100 years of age when interviewed in person. The words are written in their dialect. I highly recommend the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn G

    Exploring an important part of American history, this book offers a look into what it was like to grow up in slavery. Each chapter starts fresh with a new mini-biography, collecting 34 in total. Each American featured had a different relationship with their owner, and took different paths after gaining freedom. Although relatively short, it's not a book you'll likely be able to read through quickly. First, it's obviously tough emotionally at times. Second, it's difficult to read too many short, Exploring an important part of American history, this book offers a look into what it was like to grow up in slavery. Each chapter starts fresh with a new mini-biography, collecting 34 in total. Each American featured had a different relationship with their owner, and took different paths after gaining freedom. Although relatively short, it's not a book you'll likely be able to read through quickly. First, it's obviously tough emotionally at times. Second, it's difficult to read too many short, unrelated chapters in one sitting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maxine

    Interesting Narratives from people in their 80s, 90's and even 100 who told of their life as slaves and gaining their freedom at the end of the Civil War. Most were teenagers are in their early 20's when they were given the opportunity to leave their masters are remain on the plantation. Not everyone jumped at the chance to go out to the unknown. I enjoyed the read and learned a little something about making life choices...they do not always come easy. Interesting Narratives from people in their 80s, 90's and even 100 who told of their life as slaves and gaining their freedom at the end of the Civil War. Most were teenagers are in their early 20's when they were given the opportunity to leave their masters are remain on the plantation. Not everyone jumped at the chance to go out to the unknown. I enjoyed the read and learned a little something about making life choices...they do not always come easy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Derek Davis

    This Dover title is a small cross-section from the Slave Narrative Collection of 2,300 interviews of former slaves conducted by the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-38, part of the Works Progress Administration. The entire collection is available for free at https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave.... The value of this massive Collection is almost beyond measure, not only for the immediacy of the interviews, but for its debunking of every stereotype any of us may hold about American slavery, no matte This Dover title is a small cross-section from the Slave Narrative Collection of 2,300 interviews of former slaves conducted by the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-38, part of the Works Progress Administration. The entire collection is available for free at https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave.... The value of this massive Collection is almost beyond measure, not only for the immediacy of the interviews, but for its debunking of every stereotype any of us may hold about American slavery, no matter what our personal outlook. It was not a uniform institution, not a mirror of Gone with the Wind, not either a bed of unrelieved evil or of bland, simmering beneficence. It included every form of human emotion or social outlook, every type of behavior form the worst debasement to the highest affection, for both blacks and whites. It was human, in every way, good, bad or indifferent. Thank god it's gone and may nothing like it ever return, but the impetus behind it remains. In all of us. The mechanics of the Collection are amazing, the care taken to include every infection and nuance of speech, to reproduce personality as fully as could be done on paper. It's oral history at its best. Equally amazing is that so many souls in their 80s, 90s and beyond could be found, that late in time, each with undimmed recollection of specific names, details, sequences of events. As noted, there were almost no universals involved, not in living conditions, not in work, not in education, not in support after freedom. These are the only commonalities I found: • ownership: whites owned blacks, the overarching evil of the system • passes: in every slave state, a black required a pass signed by his or her master to travel anywhere outside the owner's plantation • patrollers (almost always called "patterollers"): whites who continually rode the highways in search of blacks without signed passes, whom they were free to harass, beat or kill; it's not clear how they were paid or by whom, but they seem mostly to have been sadistic flotsam who preyed on blacks as the only two-legged form they could consider lower than themselves • speculators: itinerant buyers and sellers of slaves who directly profited from their human misery • cornbread: the main staple of slave diets in every state • the illusion of post-war freedom: total dependence had robbed almost all slaves of the sense of how to live their own lives; some found "free" existence worse than the planation Two interviews that deserve special attention: Millie Evans: Her description of dyes and other recipe, a "how-to" simply stated. Andrew Goodman: Recalls a "good master" who made Goodman his supervisor when he left for the war

  14. 5 out of 5

    Seth Sharp

    When I was a Slave is a nonfiction book. I think that the theme or moral is even people from having a hard past can forgive. Even from the hatred of the whites and the mistreatment of the African race, people were still willing to forgive. The author mainly wants you to learn about the reality and agony of the the slaves personally. Mainly people in the 1930’s were suffering from the job cuts of the Great Depression. People were out of work and needed some way of income to provide for their fami When I was a Slave is a nonfiction book. I think that the theme or moral is even people from having a hard past can forgive. Even from the hatred of the whites and the mistreatment of the African race, people were still willing to forgive. The author mainly wants you to learn about the reality and agony of the the slaves personally. Mainly people in the 1930’s were suffering from the job cuts of the Great Depression. People were out of work and needed some way of income to provide for their families and independent needs. Basically the author sent out people to interview the remaining ex slaves and for them to give their personal stories and opinions about their experience with slavery. This book contains all the stories and point of views of the slaves that are now free men. Some of the stories more gruesome than others too. There is no directed main character in When I Was a Slave, but some of the characters I have chosen was a woman. Ms.Reynolds went through a troubled past as he was taken from her parents and sold away at a young age. Reynolds even through all the torture, beating, and pain; was willing to forgive the people that did him wrong. She was a kind, forgiving, and very intelligent woman. Someone else that I can think of in today’s world that may not be around me but is affecting me is the Parkland shooting survivors. Like these kids today Reynolds had a voice, and whether it was forgiving or not both wanted to make a change, I’m a historian and love things dealing with history and I think the book was very entertaining. The book had some stories that were gruesome because they didn’t like to “obey” but others listened just to survive. The memorable moments were when many basically had their lives on the line. I agree with the author that this book should be read because I think even though all are dead, it would raise awareness that it actually is a problem. The book mainly raises the issue of slavery and whether a person should be allowed to physically own someone else. This book related to me because I think it taught me I need to remember to forgive even when someone wrongs me in a large situation because hatred won’t do anything good. I pretty much felt every emotion in this book as I felt sad and mad sometimes at the same time. My reactions were genuine especially considering these were actual people. I wouldn’t recommend the book to people unless they were history lovers. The average person would have to decode all of the word and lingo that slaves used. I say this because it is written the way the slaves talked. Besides that I would definitely recommend it to history buffs that have an interest in slavery.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Terry Tucker

    This book was first published in 1970 and reissued in 2000 and 2002. The 2002 issue has an introduction by Norman R. Yetman. The narratives for this book are from the Slave Narrative Collection, a group of autobiographical, first person accounts of bondage and life by former slaves from 17 states. The original narrative collection is organized into a nineteen - volume series which is located in the Rare Books Room of the Library of Congress. The original collection consists of more than two thou This book was first published in 1970 and reissued in 2000 and 2002. The 2002 issue has an introduction by Norman R. Yetman. The narratives for this book are from the Slave Narrative Collection, a group of autobiographical, first person accounts of bondage and life by former slaves from 17 states. The original narrative collection is organized into a nineteen - volume series which is located in the Rare Books Room of the Library of Congress. The original collection consists of more than two thousand interviews. This book, and the vast collection, provide the most illuminating and insightful collective accounts of an historical population and period in time. The book essays, 34 of them, are appalling in detail of how slaves were treated. As one can imagine the treatment ran a wide spectrum from the most cruel to some that are intimate. These narratives were collected and transcribed between 1936 and 1938. This means that these slaves were born circa 1846 to about 1851. Some of the essays are what I would call politically correct, meaning that, the person they interviewed was both subtle and restrained in the story they conveyed. In the 1930's it was still very dangerous to speak with candor - for any person of color. Its no stretch that most of these stories describe various degrees of separation of Django Unchained. The story's are transcribed in two manners; in the slang and manner in which the person spoke and others in correct English and, or corrected english, which was the work of those doing the transcribing. The dichotomy of the narratives in this regard is so striking that it is beyond words. This is truly a must read book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed Alshamsi

    This book is good to know the viewpoint of slaves during the time of slavery, civil war and beyond in America. I have chosen some quotes from the book that shows some of the pain that Slaves had at that time. “We were allowed to have prayer meetings in our homes and we also went to the white folk’s church. But they would not teach any of us to read and write.” Mary Anderson. “..... she whipped my little sister what was only nine months old, and just a baby, to death.” Mary Armstrong. “ The gates wer This book is good to know the viewpoint of slaves during the time of slavery, civil war and beyond in America. I have chosen some quotes from the book that shows some of the pain that Slaves had at that time. “We were allowed to have prayer meetings in our homes and we also went to the white folk’s church. But they would not teach any of us to read and write.” Mary Anderson. “..... she whipped my little sister what was only nine months old, and just a baby, to death.” Mary Armstrong. “ The gates were always locked and they was a guard on the outside to shoot anyone who tried to run away.” W. L. Bost. “ I slept on the floor nine years, winter and summer, sick or well.” Julia Brown. “Slaves were never allowed to talk to white people other than their masters or someone their maters knew, as they were afraid the white man might have the slave run away. The masters aimed to keep their slaves in ignorance and the ignorant slaves were all in favor of the Rebel army.” Bill Simms.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Millichap

    This book is an abridgment (35 narratives) of a longer edited version (100 narratives) by the same author of the narratives created from interviews conducted in the 1930s of people formerly enslaved in the American South. Since slavery ended in 1865, those interviewed were in most cases at least in their 80s and had been enslaved in childhood or early adulthood. Because of this, the narratives give only a partial picture of the overall experience of enslavement. All that said, what is presented This book is an abridgment (35 narratives) of a longer edited version (100 narratives) by the same author of the narratives created from interviews conducted in the 1930s of people formerly enslaved in the American South. Since slavery ended in 1865, those interviewed were in most cases at least in their 80s and had been enslaved in childhood or early adulthood. Because of this, the narratives give only a partial picture of the overall experience of enslavement. All that said, what is presented is certainly wide-ranging and, in the main, certainly a chronicle of tragedy, family separation, cruelty, and the limitations of human potential imposed upon many millions of African Americans. It’s important for us to be aware of these experiences, since the after effects of the nation’s 400-year history of enslaving Africans continues to reverberate all too strongly our politics, economy, and culture today.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristal

    Such an important book! I’m so glad so many people’s experience of slavery in the United States was documented this way. I find the variety of experiences fascinating. Each person’s story is different yet their are common threads in the foods eaten, the crops grown, the clothes worn, and the shelter given. In almost every case the brutality of the slavery years was recognized. 1 or 2 people “miss the old days”, but it seems those individuals had exceptional masters (for a lack of a better way to Such an important book! I’m so glad so many people’s experience of slavery in the United States was documented this way. I find the variety of experiences fascinating. Each person’s story is different yet their are common threads in the foods eaten, the crops grown, the clothes worn, and the shelter given. In almost every case the brutality of the slavery years was recognized. 1 or 2 people “miss the old days”, but it seems those individuals had exceptional masters (for a lack of a better way to put it). However, one person said that people who say they miss the old days may have just been “trained” to do so. Some people had absolutely brutal owners, who raped, beat, starved, under clothed, and overworked the enslaved people. One enslaver made his slave burry the body of someone he killed!! This is the type of book where it’s best to read a few stories each day.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Bacon

    Interesting narratives about the lives of slaves from the point of view of the slaves themselves. Most of the time sad, disturbing, and infuriating. At other times, points out the strength of the human spirit. The lives these people lived back then covers a gamut. From those that were beaten daily for the most minor "offense" and/or having relatives sold never to be seen again to those who (aside from the institution itself)had an OK life. Though the stories get repetitive (understandably so), s Interesting narratives about the lives of slaves from the point of view of the slaves themselves. Most of the time sad, disturbing, and infuriating. At other times, points out the strength of the human spirit. The lives these people lived back then covers a gamut. From those that were beaten daily for the most minor "offense" and/or having relatives sold never to be seen again to those who (aside from the institution itself)had an OK life. Though the stories get repetitive (understandably so), still a worthwhile read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sahvanna Lopez

    Real human experiences To hear them talk an some of them still refer to themselves as property, they don't really talk in past tense, they know they're free but they're mind set is still enslaved, an the stories they tell are horrible but I feel its important that we remember our history an that includes they injustice. Real human experiences To hear them talk an some of them still refer to themselves as property, they don't really talk in past tense, they know they're free but they're mind set is still enslaved, an the stories they tell are horrible but I feel its important that we remember our history an that includes they injustice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Sanders

    A vivid and brutally honest account of slavery in the USA. We don't think of victims of such atrocities as heroes but these Americans were absolutely hero's. Faced with a hopeless situation they never gave up or lost faith in God. A difficult read but knowledge is worth it's weight in gold. A vivid and brutally honest account of slavery in the USA. We don't think of victims of such atrocities as heroes but these Americans were absolutely hero's. Faced with a hopeless situation they never gave up or lost faith in God. A difficult read but knowledge is worth it's weight in gold.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaimee Cowart

    I read this for a history project and it was the most insightful thing I have ever read. The wealth of knowledge I attained from this book was immeasurable. 4stars because I don't want to read it over and over. I read this for a history project and it was the most insightful thing I have ever read. The wealth of knowledge I attained from this book was immeasurable. 4stars because I don't want to read it over and over.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Tuomi

    I found this book to be very interesting. Although I have read many books about slavery, this taught me many things. It is a collection of interviews conducted 1936-39 with people who had themselves been slaves.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jai

    Heartbreaking and gritty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jean Martino

    very good. I love my history and it is better when it comes from the actually people that made th history.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    This should be required reading in all U.S. schools. Perhaps more people will grow up to abhor racism and hopefully many less people will aspire to join white supremacy, nut-job hate groups.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bianca Orellana

    I'm speechless. All I can say is this book is so, so important. I'm speechless. All I can say is this book is so, so important.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kerri-Ann

    This book was both heartbreaking and enlightening.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kailee Spalding

    When I Was a Slave was an AMAZING book. I loved how it had people over 100 who remember that time. It is a good book and I hope people enjoy this book as much as I did.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    A very difficult read but I am so glad that I did...tears, anger, frustration, axiety.... I experienced every emotion possible....but it was so worth it.

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