Good Essays About Slavery

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1 The Slave Narrative Collection provides a unique and virtually unsurpassed collective portrait of a historical population.

Indeed, historian David Brion Davis has argued that the voluminous number of documented slave testimonies available in the United States "is indisputably unique among former slaveholding nations."2 In addition to the substantial number of life histories it contains, the most compelling feature of the collection is the composition of the sample of people who made up its informants.

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While not totally eliminated, the methodological problem of sample bias that inevitably confronts the historian is substantially reduced in this sample of the ex-slave universe.

Good Essays About Slavery

The WPA narratives thus constitute an illuminating and invaluable source of data about antebellum and post-Emancipation Southern life, the institution of slavery, and, most important, the reactions and perspectives of those who had been enslaved.Although not a representative sample of the slave population, they were a remarkably diverse and inclusive cross-section of former slaves.Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from one to fifty at the time of emancipation in 1865, which meant that more than two-thirds were over eighty when they were interviewed.In 1855, John Little, a fugitive slave who had escaped to Canada, uttered this perceptive commentary upon attempts to convey the realities of the existence that he had fled: "Tisn't he who has stood and looked on, that can tell you what slavery is--'tis he who has endured." The view that slavery could best be described by those who had themselves experienced it personally has found expression in several thousand commentaries, autobiographies, narratives, and interviews with those who "endured." Although most of these accounts appeared before the Civil War, more than one-third are the result of the ambitious efforts of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to interview surviving ex-slaves during the 1930s.The result of these efforts was the Slave Narrative Collection, a group of autobiographical accounts of former slaves that today stands as one of the most enduring and noteworthy achievements of the WPA.But there appears little reason to believe that the processes involved in the selection of interviewees produced a sample that systematically diverged from the larger population.At least the sample biases that characterized the universe of antebellum slave autobiographies--the disproportionate number of runaways, individuals who had purchased their freedom or had been freed, males, craftsmen, and individuals from border states--are absent.I chose this site for affordable prices and excellent support. People come to us to get assistance with their academic tasks and get just that.We do not ask why you are unable or not willing to do it on your own once you contact us with words like “Help me do my homework.” You must have your reasons, and our main concern is that you end up getting a good grade.Yetman, then Chancellors Club Teaching Professor of American Studies and Sociology and Chair of the American Studies Program at the University of Kansas, where he was also Courtesy Professor of African and African-American Studies and co-editor (with David Katzman) of the transdisciplinary journal American Studies.Among other publications, Yetman is the author of Life Under the 'Peculiar Institution': Selections from the Slave Narrative Collection (1970), also published under the title Voices from Slavery: 100 Authentic Slave Narratives (revised edition, 2000).

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