Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives

By Paul D. Escott | Go to book overview
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Appendix D
New Narratives

After this book was written, Greenwood Press published Supplement, Series I to The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. This supplement made available twelve volumes of additional slave narratives, both totally new accounts and previously undiscovered versions of older interviews. To obtain these documents, George P. Rawick and his co-workers, including Jan Hillegas, Ken Lawrence, and Norman Yetman, combed through the holdings of archives and libraries in several states. Due to their efforts our record of the Federal Writers' Project's work on slavery is nearly complete. Scholars stand in debt to these individuals, who may publish still more narratives in the future.

How do these new narratives affect the findings of this book? Do they present a significantly different picture of slavery, or do they merely build upon and expand the information given here? Although George Rawick admitted that some of these accounts were inferior in quality to the original collection of narratives, he also suggested that they might contain some valuable new material. For example, the geographical coverage of these new materials was wider. Moreover, some Mississippi narratives, Rawick felt, might have been suppressed because they were too critical of slaveholders.

To investigate these questions, the author examined a random sample drawn from the approximately 1070 totally new narratives and read each of the approximately 68 narratives for which an earlier version exists. For each new group of narratives

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