- About the Contributors
- Slave Narratives and Historical Memory
- Slave Narratives and Archival Research
- Slave Narratives and Historical Understanding
- Slave Narratives and U.S. Legal History
- The WPA Narratives as Historical Sources
- The Other Slave Narratives: The Works Progress Administration Interviews
- Lost in the Archives: The Pension Bureau Files
- The Witness of African American Folkways: The Landscape of Slave Narratives
- The Slave Narrative as Material Text
- Reading Communities: Slave Narratives and the Discursive Reader
- A Reflection on the Slave Narrative and American Literature
- The Slave Narrative and Visual Culture
- Slave Narratives, 1865–1900
- “This Horrible Exhibition”: Sexuality in Slave Narratives
- “There is Might in Each”: Slave Narratives and Black Feminism
- “I Rose a Freeman”: Power, Property, and the Performance of Manhood in the Slave Narratives
- Family and Community in Slave Narratives
- Collaborative American Slave Narratives
- Environmental Criticism and the Slave Narratives
- Locating Slave Narratives
- Slave Narratives and Hemispheric Studies
- Caribbean Slave Narratives
- Slave Narratives, the Romantic Imagination and Transatlantic Literature
- “Puzzling the Intervals”: Blind Tom and the Poetics of the Sonic Slave Narrative
- The Truth of Slave Narratives: Slavery’s Traces in Postmemory Narratives of Postemancipation Life
Abstract and Keywords
This essay examines the problematic nature of individual memory in the writing of slave narratives; considers scholars’ attention to both individual and collective memory in their interpretations of slave narratives; and evaluates slave narratives’ changing role in shaping the broader public’s understanding of slavery in American history. Scholars and general readers largely ignored slave narratives from the late nineteenth century until oral interviews with former slaves conducted in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration became widely available in the 1970s. Since that time, slave narratives have become central to our collective cultural memory of slaves and slavery.
Mitch Kachun is Professor of History at Western Michigan University. He is author of Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915 (Massachusetts, 2003) and co-editor of The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins (Oxford, 2006). His current research examines Crispus Attucks in American memory.
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