Chained to the Land

Chained to the Land

by Lynette Ater Tanner (Editor)

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Overview

During the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration sent workers to interview over 2,200 former slaves about their experiences during slavery and the time immediately after the Civil War. The interviews conducted with the former Louisiana slaves often showed a different life from the slaves in neighboring states.

Louisiana was unique among the slave-holding states because of French law and influence, as demonstrated in the standards set to govern slaves in Le Code Noir. Its history was also different from many Southern states because of the prevalence of large sugar cane as well as cotton plantations, which benefited from the frequent replenishment of rich river silt deposited by Mississippi River floods. At Frogmore Plantation, which is located in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Natchez, co-owner Lynette Tanner has spent 16 years researching and interpreting the slave narratives in order to share these stories with visitors from around the globe. The plantation offers historical re-enactments, written by Tanner, that are performed by descendants of former Natchez District slaves.

In this collection, Tanner gathered interviews conducted with former slaves who lived in Louisiana at the time of the interviews as well as narratives with those who had been enslaved in Louisiana but had moved to a different state by the 1930s. Their recollections of food, housing, clothing, weddings, and funerals, as well as treatment and relationships echo memories of an era, like no other, for which America still faces repercussions today.

Lynette Tanner and her husband own Frogmore Plantation, a working cotton plantation and gin distillery, as well as Terre Noir, a second plantation in Concordia Parish. Tanner has received numerous awards for her preservation efforts and her promotion of Louisiana tourism. Tanner was the author and narrator of “The Delta: A Musical History” for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit which was on display in the La. Delta area.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780895876263
Publisher: Blair
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Series: Real Voices, Real History
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,258,944
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Lynette Tanner and her husband own Frogmore Plantation, a working cotton plantation and gin distillery, as well as Terre Noir, a second plantation in Concordia Parish. Tanner has received numerous awards for her preservation efforts and her promotion of Louisiana tourism. Tanner was the author and narrator of “The Delta: A Musical History” for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit which was on display in the La. Delta area.

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Chained to the Land 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
civiwarlibrarian More than 1 year ago
During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers' Project interviewed over 2,200 ex-slaves who lived in 17 states. Most of those interviewed were in the eighties, nineties and a few over 100 years old. Interviews in this book are of Louisiana slaves who worked in a legal environment of state laws of a French tradition. Many of these interviews are not found in the Library of Congress' collection; they are held in the Northwestern State University Archives in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Writers' Project in Louisiana was directed by Lyle Saxton. Most of the former slave narrations in this volume were kept in Natchitoches at Melrose Plantation, owned by Cammie henry, who donated the items to the state archives. Within the book are a few Louisiana slave interviews that are housed by the Library of Congress. The slaves recollections of housing, food, clothing, weddings, funerals, and relations contain anger, joy, sadness, religious practices and wit. The slaves hailed from eight distinct regions including New Orleans. The collection offers not only memories of the work-a-day world of slavery but also reflections of the personal ties that were found in slave families and church congregations. Interviewees who were children during the Civil War reflect on the loss of fathers who fought with the Federal army, the significance of Abraham Lincoln, and the variety of masters that existed during the era of slavery. Chained To The Land: Voices From Cotton and Cane Plantations From Interviews of Former Slaves is accessible to most readers and may be used in both classrooms or living rooms.