Before Freedom When I Just Can Remember: Twenty-seven Oral Histories of Former South Carolina Slaves

Overview

During the 1930s, the Federal Writers' Project undertook the task of locating former slaves and recording their oral histories. The more than ten thousand pages of interviews with over two thousand former slaves were filed in the Library of Congress, where they were known to scholars and historians but few others. From this storehouse of information, Belinda Hurmence has chosen twenty-seven narratives from the twelve hundred type-written pages of interviews with 284 former South Carolina slaves. The result is a ...
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Overview

During the 1930s, the Federal Writers' Project undertook the task of locating former slaves and recording their oral histories. The more than ten thousand pages of interviews with over two thousand former slaves were filed in the Library of Congress, where they were known to scholars and historians but few others. From this storehouse of information, Belinda Hurmence has chosen twenty-seven narratives from the twelve hundred type-written pages of interviews with 284 former South Carolina slaves. The result is a moving, eloquent, and often surprising firsthand account of the lost years of slavery and first years of freedom. The former slaves describe the clothes they wore, the food they ate, the houses they lived in, the work they did, and the treatment they received. They give their impressions of Yankee soldiers, the Klan, their masters, and their newfound freedom. In Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember, Hurmence makes accessible to the casual reader what many scholars and historians have long known to be a great source of our nation's history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Selected from the Federal Writers' Pro ject slave narratives, this first-hand ac count of slavery features interviews with 27 former South Carolina slaves who were at least ten years old when they were freed. It is a successor to Hurmence's My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk about Slav ery (1984).--MR
School Library Journal
YA-- From 284 Federal Writers' Project interviews gathered during the 1930s, Hurmence has edited 27 pieces in which ex-slaves from South Carolina discuss their homes, chores, masters, families, and celebrations during slave times. As she notes in her introduction, the former slaves' seeming nostalgia for old times may have resulted from their ages (all were over 80 at the time of the interviews) and Depression-linked poverty, the reality that freedom often meant sharecropping and violence from the KKK, and the fact that their interviewers were white. Nonetheless, the collection offers students a chance to use readable primary sources to research details of the everyday lives of Southern slaves.-- Alice Conlon, University of Houston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895870698
  • Publisher: Blair, John F. Publisher
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: Real Voices, Real History
  • Pages: 135
  • Sales rank: 987,418
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Violet Guntharpe 3
Brawley Gilmore 9
Hester Hunter 15
Ben Horry 21
Jake McLeod 29
Adeline Jackson 35
Adele Frost 39
Milton Marshall 41
Alexander Scaife 47
Zack Herndon 49
Adeline Johnson 55
Rebecca Jane Grant 57
Elijah Green 63
Amy Perry 69
Willis Williams 73
Sam Polite 77
Fannie Griffin 83
Silvia Chisolm 87
Prince Smith 89
George Briggs 93
Adeline Grey 99
Sarah Poindexter 105
Peter Clifton 109
Isiah Jeffries 115
Robert Toatley 119
Sylvia Cannon 123
Savilla Burrell 133
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2009

    Different Perspectives

    Each chapter of the book was recalled by a child of a slave or a very old person who was a slave. After visiting the south this year, I found the book very enlightning. As much as slavery was bad and wrong, there were positives for some. It gives you a different viewpoint that not all slave owners were bad people. The book lets you witness that it wasn't so much the "masters" as it was other white men who used their strength and power to control people. The book gives a much greater appreciation of the other viewpoints of what it was like on the other side of this practice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2002

    Pivotal for building Heritage Pride

    When writing history it is so important not to disturb it's content when editing and Ms. Hurmence has done just that. For that I am most greatful. It allows the reader to injest the whole work without any bias. Thanks!

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