WHAT IS Remembering Slavery?
Many years after the Civil War had ended, those survivors who had
once been slaves were interviewed by a variety of scholars and researchers.
(In the 1920s, scholars, particularly from African-American colleges, began
interviewing former slaves, a project taken up again in the 1930s by the
Federal Writers Project. Another group of scholars inspired by the FWP began
tape-recording their interviews with former slaves.) Accounts of many of those
interviews were set down on paper, and some were tape-recorded. Those
transcribed and taped interviews, totaling tens of thousands of pages, are
collected in the Library of Congress, and in state archives and university
The radio series, produced by Smithsonian
Productions and the Institute of Language and Culture and heard on affiliate stations of Public Radio International,
compiles excerpts from many of these interviews. It provides a unique
opportunity for listeners everywhere to discover these vital historical
resources and their singular first-hand perspective of slavery. The book
and tape package, published by the New Press, expands upon these taped
interviews with many more additional transcribed narratives, organized
into five sections each centering on a major theme. The Learning Guide
is designed to enhance your experience of reading and/or listening to the
interviews, making it a more thought-provoking, informative, and personally
enriching activity. The entire Remembering Slavery project enables us to
hear how former slaves describe - - in their own words - - what it was
like to be a slave - - and to be free.