In the 1930s, the Federal Writers’ Project undertook a massive effort at gathering the oral testimony of former slaves. Those ex-slaves were in their declining years by the time of the Great Depression, but Elizabeth Sparks, Elige Davison, and others like them nonetheless provided a priceless record of life under the yoke: where slaves lived, how they were treated, what they ate, how they worked, how they adjusted to freedom. Here, Belinda Hurmence presents the interviews of 21 former Virginia slaves. This is a companion volume to Hurmence’s popular collections of North Carolina and South Carolina slave narratives,My Folks Don’t Want Me to Talk About Slavery andBefore Freedom, When I Just Can Remember.
Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), Tancy (winner of a Golden Kite Award), and The Nightwalker. She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
About the Author
Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), Tancy (winner of a Golden Kite Award), and The Nightwalker.
She has also edited My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery and Before Freedom: When I Just Can Remember, companion volumes to this book. She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard is a compilation of slave narratives selected to illustrate experiences of slavery in Virginia. Why bother with this small selection of 21 narratives when a digital collection of more than 2,300 slave narratives is available in the Library of Congress¿s American Memory collection? The value is in the selection and editing of the collection. Most of the selections are drawn from the 15 Virginia oral histories collected as part of the WPA¿s Federal Writers¿ Project and deposited in the Library of Congress. Rounding out the compilation are selections from other states whose interview subjects were born in Virginia and who described their experiences of slavery in Virginia in their interviews. The editor purposely included accounts only for those individuals who were over eighty years old at the time they were interviewed in the 1930s, reasoning that these accounts contain less hearsay than those of slightly younger interviewees. By looking at these accounts collectively, one forms an idea of what it was like to be a slave in Virginia just before and during the Civil War. This selection is well-suited for use with middle readers and above. Highly recommended.
Each chapter gives you an insight as to how it felt as a child of a slave for the masters of the plantation. It made me very aware that not all slave owners were bad. Some masters made sure that they had all the things to live the same as the masters except for the home. When the masters bought different people, they bought them for their talent. i.e., seamtress, cook, gardeners, and farmers. It was communicated that a lot of the abuse came from a group of men who thought they were the authority for all plantations.