Slave narratives

You will then write your own slave narratives as a slave from the region of Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, North/South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi, researching for historical accuracy and incorporating elements of the slave narrative genre to demonstrate understanding. Your slave narrative will actively reflect experiences encountered while escaping from slavery. This assignment is worth thirty-five points.

  1. Discuss entries found in a diary: events (big and small–community, family and personal), emotional responses, thoughts, questions, goals, dreams, plans. Please note that a diary is usually very personal, and therefore presents the personality of the writer.
  2. Create a “slave persona” for yourself and include the following:
    • Name, gender, age
    • What kind of a household you live in
    • What kind of a person or family owns you
    • What kind of work you are expected to do
    • Any relatives you may have–do you live with those relatives?
    • Anything else that might be important
  3. Be sure to address the event/circumstances surrounding your escape and process.
  4. Must be three pages typed single-spaced with Times New Roman font.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Be introduced to slave narratives, an influential genre in American literature.
  • Recognize and analyze the characteristics of slave narratives.
  • Gain a more historically accurate understanding of slavery.

Answer preview

I am exploring my past experiences in my new settlement in Alabama. Slavery is a norm here, although the region is not yet a state. From what I gathered from my parents, slaves contributed to 30% of Alabama’s population. Strikingly, the number doubled in the 1830s. I found it more intriguing to learn that Alabama gained its statehood when cotton production was gaining traction and spreading to the South. The unfortunate aspect was that masters held most slaves in bondage in some counties, such as the Tennesse River Valley. Further, the settlers from eastern Georgia and the western side of South Carolina owned the slaves, but they sought cheaper labor and fertile land in Alabama. I learned that the encounters slaves experienced were contradictory and confusing during this remarkable period in history known as the antebellum period. The period between 1832 and 1860 was a time that resulted in the formation of the United States government and contentions that led to the American Civil War. Notably, the demand for slavery skyrocketed, and importing slaves from the African Continent increased the price for the slaves. Consequently, this made the small-scale farmers in Virginia richer since they sold their slaves further to the west and South.

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Slave narratives