I Belong to South Carolina: South Carolina Slave Narratives

By Susanna Ashton; Robyn E. Adams et al. | Go to book overview

EDITORIAL METHOD

The goal for editing these texts was simply to make alterations only when helpful to contemporary readers and yet not unnecessarily diminish the tone and historical phrasing particular to these narratives. Silent changes were made in some small instances to remove misleading punctuation and to correct spelling or printing errors that rendered words incomprehensible. Various versions of “Sumpter,” “Sumter,” “Sumpterville,” and “Fort Sumpter” were left as they were in each narrative to reflect the practices of different eras and regions. No changes were made to dialect phrases or words already within quotation marks, nor were capitalization practices altered to reflect contemporary sensibilities. This is particularly notable with the terms “negro,” “negroes,” “Negro,” and “Negroes,” which were left precisely as the original printed manuscript read.

In order to convey the significance of the serial reading experience— most important for “Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave,” which initially appeared in the Advocate of Freedom and later in the Emancipator, and also for the memoirs of Boston King, whose narrative was originally published in the Methodist Magazine—the installment breaks are indicated. In the case of the Reverend I. E. Lowery, whose memoir consists of an initial serialized narrative published by a friend in conjunction with his own later additions and stories in book form, the complete 1911 edition of the text appears, and thus the breaks in the initial sections of the serialized version are not indicated.

While the lives of Boston King, Clarinda, “A Runaway,” John Andrew Jackson, and Sam Aleckson are presented here in their entirety, Jacob Stroyer’s narrative and that of I. E. Lowery are trimmed to emphasize their individual life stories and also to focus attention on the narrative thrust of these works. Thus a long chapter of Stroyer’s narrative that concerns generalized anecdotes and impersonal recollections of slavery was

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