Slave Narratives is a compendium of writings and recollections by a diverse group of writers who exposed the realities of slave life in pre-Civil War America and thereby challenged the conscience of a nation while laying the foundations of an African American literary tradition. Included are the late 18th century narratives of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw and Olaudah Equiano (both of whom were abducted in Africa and brought across the Atlantic); the "Confessions" of Nat Turner (leader of the deadliest slave revolt in American history); the memoir of Sojourner Truth; "Running a Thousand miles for Freedom" (the story of William and Ellen Craft's escape from Georgia); "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (Harriet Jacobs' complex and moving story of her resistance to sexual and racial oppression; the narrative of the subversive "trickster" Jacob Green; as well as the writings of Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Henry Bibb. Slave Narratives is a searing collective portrait of American life before emancipation and would prove a core title for any Black Studies reference collection or reading list.
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