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Published: 14 December 1989

384 Pages | illus.

4 x 6-1/2 inches

ISBN: 9780195060836

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Bookseller Code (01)

Six Women's Slave Narratives

Introduction by William L. Andrews

The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers

Written by six black women, these stories embody most of the predominant themes and narrative forms found in African-American women's autobiographies from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831), the first female slave narrative from the Americas, recounts one woman's suffering and courage in the pursuit of freedom. The Story of Mattie J. Jackson (1866) not only tells of a quest for personal freedom, but also concludes with a family reunion in the North after the Civil War. The Memoir of Old Elizabeth, a Coloured Woman (1863) blends the traditions of the slave narrative and the spiritual autobiography together in a tale of a ninety-seven-year-old ex-slave who becomes a preacher. Lucy A. Delaney's From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or, Struggles for Freedom (c. 1891) records a former slave's life achievements in the quarter-century following the end of the Civil War. Kate Drumgoold, in A Slave Girl's Story, and Annie L. Burton, in Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days, also describe their successes in the postwar North while eulogizing black motherhood in the antebellum South. Each of these stories reveals the black woman's ability to recover in past oppression the hope for a better day.