American Slave Narratives


There is nothing quite like learning about history through the voices and words of the people who lived it. Here are some great narratives and interviews with ex-slaves. A few of them, such as the interview with Fountain Hughes quoted below, have audio clips.

Me? Which I’d rather be? You know what I’d rather do? If I thought, had any idea, that I’d ever be a slave again, I’d take a gun an’ jus’ end it all right away. Because you’re nothing but a dog. You’re not a thing but a dog. Night never comed out, you had nothing to do. Time to cut tobacco, if they want you to cut all night long out in the field, you cut. An’ if they want you to hang all night long, you hang, hang tobacco. It didn’ matter bout you tired, being tired. You’re afraid to say you’re tired. They just, well [voice trails off]