I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives



I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives

This edition

"I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives" . Ed. Yuval Taylor. 2 vols. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1999. xxxviii+764 pp.; xxxviii+796 pp. (Library of Black America.)

Table of contents

V. 1. 1772-1849. James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw -- Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) -- William Grimes -- Nat Turner -- Charles Ball -- Moses Roper -- Frederick Douglass -- Lewis & Milton Clark -- William Wells Brown -- Josiah Henson.
(fuller titles): A narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the life of James Albert Ukasaw Gronniosaw, an African prince -- The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African -- Life of William Grimes, the runaway slave -- The confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, Va. -- Slavery in the United States: a narrative of the life and adventures of Charles Ball, a black man, who lived forty years in Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia as a slave -- A narrative of the adventures and escape of Moses Roper, from American slavery -- Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave -- Narratives of the sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke, sons of a soldier of the Revolution, during a captivity of more than twenty years among the slaveholders of Kentucky -- Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave -- The life of Josiah Henson, formerly a slave, now an inhabitant of Canada.

V. 2. 1849-1866.
(fuller titles): Narrative of the life and adventures of Henry Bibb, an American slave / H. Bibb -- Fugitive blacksmith, or, Events in the history of James W.C. Pennington, pastor of a Presbyterian Church, New York, formerly a slave in the state of Maryland, United States / J.W.C. Pennington -- Twelve years a slave, narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana / S. Northup -- Slave life in Georgia, a narrative of the life, sufferings, and escape of John Brown, a fugitive slave, now in England / J. Brown -- Life of John Thompson, a fugitive slave, containing his history of 25 years in bondage, and his providential escape / J. Thompson -- Running a thousand miles for freedom, or, The escape of William and Ellen Craft from slavery / W. & E. Craft -- Incidents in the life of a slave girl / H. Jacobs (Linda Brent) -- Narrative of the life of J.D. Green, a runaway slave, from Kentucky, containing an account of his three escapes, in 1939, 1846, and 1848 / J.D. Green -- Life of James Mars, a slave born and sold in Connecticut / J. Mars -- Freedman's story / W. Parker.

Publisher's description

● "Over 120 autobiographies of ex-slaves were published as books or pamphlets between the mid-eighteenth and early twentieth centuries; all subsequent African American literature is descended from these seminal works. [This book] collects ... significant slave narratives and arranges them chronologically ... This ... anthology presents the narratives unabridged, providing each one with ... introductions and annotations ... The narratives in this volume include ... tales of heroic slaves. One, born free, was kidnapped and enslaved for twelve years; one was experimented upon by a doctor to see how deep his black skin went; one disguised herself as a male slaveowner; one hid herself from a lustful master in a crawlspace for seven years; one delighted in playing cruel practical jokes; one went whaling to avoid being recaptured; and one led an armed posse to battle would-be kidnappers" (back cover of vol. 2; WorldCat).

● "Between 1760 and 1902, more than 200 book-length autobiographies of ex-slaves were published; together they form the basis for all subsequent African American literature. I Was Born a Slavecollects the 20 most significant slave narratives. They describe whippings, torture, starvation, resistance, and hairbreadth escapes; slave auctions, kidnappings, and murders; sexual abuse, religious confusion, the struggle of learning to read and write; and the triumphs and difficulties of life as free men and women. Many of the narrativessuch as those of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobshave achieved reputations as masterpieces; but some of the lesser-known narratives are equally brilliant. This unprecedented anthology presents them unabridged, providing each one with helpful introductions and annotations, to form the most comprehensive volume ever assembled on the lives and writings of the slaves." (publisher's description for both volumes together; WorldCat)

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