My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery

February 12, 2016 Posted by: Tom Dewey, Librarian

My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery, edited by Belinda Hurmence. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair Publisher, 1996.

Belinda Hurmence has edited a compelling book about slavery titled, My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery.The book is a collection of oral histories by former slaves and descendants of slaves and offers rare, original accounts of lives in bondage. The narratives in this collection are all from North Carolina.

The book features an introduction, but the narratives contain no embellishment or commentary. The subjects speak very directly and compellingly of their lives in bondage.

The editor acknowledges the title of the book is provocative, but explains its source is a direct comment from one of the interview subjects named Sarah Debro. Hurmence says, "To ignore her life under slavery is to ignore black pioneering in the United States, and, in effect, to deny Sarah's humanity, as it was denied in slavery time. That is why Sarah must be able to speak for herself. That is why it is important to talk about slavery."

The slave narratives included in this collection are part of the more than 2,000 oral history narratives that are housed in the Library of Congress.The project was sponsored by the Federal Writers Project during the 1930s. More than 170 interviews were conducted in North Carolina. The editor pored over each of the North Carolina narratives and edited 21 of the first-person accounts for this collection.


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Last updated: February 12, 2016

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