Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation

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9781595582287: Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation
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In 1998, The New Press published Remembering Slavery, a book-and-tape set that offered a startling first-person history of slavery. Using excerpts from the thousands of interviews conducted with ex-slaves in the 1930s by researchers working with the Federal Writers’ Project, the astonishing audiotapes made available the only known recordings of people who actually experienced enslavement recordings that had gathered dust in the Library of Congress until they were rendered audible for the first time specifically for this set.

Remembering Slavery received the kind of commercial attention seldom accorded projects of this nature nationwide critical and review coverage as well as extensive coverage on prime-time television, including Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS Sunday Morning, and CNN. The tapes have been aired repeatedly on public radio stations across the country. Reviewers called the set chilling [and] riveting” (Publishers Weekly) and something, truly, truly new” (The Village Voice).

Now this groundbreaking set is available for a new generation of readers and listeners, offering remastered compact discs in MP3 format of the extensive original live recordings of interviews with former slaves.

*The audio for this new edition is on MP3 compact discs. MP3 audio books on compact disc can be played on newer CD players that support MP3 technology and accept a 4.75”-diameter disc and on any personal computer that has Microsoft’s Media Player or similar software.

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About the Author:

Ira Berlin is the author of Many Thousands Gone, which won both the Bancroft Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Steven F. Miller is co-editor of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project and was co-editor with Berlin of Free at Last. Marc Favreau is the editorial director of The New Press. Robin D. G. Kelley is Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

From Booklist:

This collection brings forth, through both sight and sound, as Remembering is a book-and-tape set, the poignant voices of people who had been slaves. The recordings of interviews with former slaves were conducted by the Federal Writers Project in the early 1930s. The interviewers included such luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston and John Lomax, who talked to the ex-slaves about their relationships with their former owners and their relationships with other slaves. The editors' interpolations are kept to a minimum and are used strictly to tie themes together, without disrupting the accounts of those who lived much of their early lives as slaves. There are many brutal and cruel memories: one woman recounts how her head was misshaped in childhood by an abusive mistress. Overall the interviewees provide a day-to-day account of their lives, their work regimens, which varied with geography and the types of crops cultivated, and the culture they sustained under the oppressive conditions of slavery in the U.S. They recall everyday minor rebellions that helped them to maintain a sense of control and dignity and ongoing attempts to formulate families in a system that didn't respect marriage among slaves. The remembrances are joyful when the tales are about fleeing or helping others to flee, and, finally, jubilant in the segments concerning emancipation following the Civil War. These stories and occurrences have served as source material for historians and other writers, but they are rendered far more memorable by the ex-slaves' own words. The work itself, derived from a collection of tapes left languishing in the Library of Congress for generations, gives voice to one of the most significant institutions in American history. Vanessa Bush

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