WPA slave narratives

They are fascinating and addictive. The best so far is of Abraham Jones, who was born in 1825 and was therefore 112 when interviewed in 1937. He seemed half his age, it was said. He remembered the 1833 meteor shower, when “stars fell on Alabama.” There is also an interesting story of one Louis, who is from Guiné and who has a great deal of knowledge of, and identification with the forest, animals and plants.

What is salient is that these interviews took place in the 1930s, when food was scarce. There is noticeable nostalgia for the food available in the nineteenth century, especially on holidays. It is also the Jim Crow era and there is noticeable nostalgia for the protection of the upper class white people, as well as identification with them — and explicit non-identification with the poorer whites.


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