Black Children's Books & Authors

"Black children need to see their lives reflected in the books they read. If they don't, they won't feel welcome in the world of literature. The lives of African-Americans are rich and diverse, and the books our children read should reflect that."- Valerie Wilson Wesley

Black History: Slave Narratives (Part 1)

Slave and ex-slave narratives are important not only for what they tell us about African American history and literature, but also because they reveal to us the complexities of the dialogue between whites and blacks in this country in the last two centuries, particularly for African Americans. This dialogue is implicit in the very structure of the antebellum slave narrative, which generally centers on an African American’s narrative but is prefaced by a white-authored text and often is appended by white authenticating documents, such as letters of reference attesting to the character and reliability of the slave narrator himself or herself. Some slave narratives elicited replies from whites that were published in subsequent editions of the narrative (the second, Dublin edition of Frederick Douglass’s 1845 Narrative is a case in point). Other slave narratives, such as The Confessions of Nat Turner (1831), gave rise to novels implicitly or explicitly intended to defend the myth of the South, such as John Pendleton Kennedy’s Swallow Barn (1832), traditionally regarded as the first important plantation novel. Both intra-textually and extra-textually, therefore, the slave narrative from the early nineteenth century onward was a vehicle for dialogue over slavery and racial issues between whites and blacks in the North and the South. When reactionary white southern writers and regional boosters of the 1880s and 1890s decanted myths of slavery and the moonlight-and-magnolias plantation to a nostalgic white northern readership, the narratives of former slaves were one of the few resources that readers of the late nineteenth century could examine to get a reliable, first-hand portrayal of what slavery had actually been like.

A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert “Ukawsaw Gronniosaw”, an African Prince, by Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, 1772

The Interesting Narrative and the life of “Olaudah Equiano” or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano, 1789

A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident Above Sixty Years in the United State of America, by Venture Smith, 1798

The Blind African Slave, Or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, by Jeffrey Brace as told to Benjamin F. Prentiss, Esq., St. Albans, Vermont, 1810  (no image)

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, 1825

The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, 1831

Slavery in the United States: A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Charles Ball, A Black Man, 1836

A Narrative of Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery, 1837

A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1845

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, Boston, 1846

Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Boston, 1847

— 8 months ago with 381 notes
#black history month  #slave narratives  #african american history  #never forget  #know your hist  #frederick douglass  #solomon northup  #mary prince  #plantation life  #Black Literature 
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    I am partial to slave narratives
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