Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember: Personal Accounts of Slavery in South Carolina

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Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember: Personal Accounts of Slavery in South Carolina Paperback – January 1, 1989
by Belinda Hurmence

 

During the 1930s, the Federal Writers’ Project undertook the task of locating former slaves and recording their oral histories. The more than ten thousand pages of interviews with over two thousand former slaves were filed in the Library of Congress, where they were known to scholars and historians but few others. From this storehouse of information, Belinda Hurmence has chosen twenty-seven narratives from the twelve hundred typewritten pages of interviews with 284 former South Carolina slaves. The result is a moving, eloquent, and often surprising firsthand account of the last years of slavery and first years of freedom. The former slaves describe the clothes they wore, the food they ate, the houses they lived in, the work they did, and the treatment they received. They give their impressions of Yankee soldiers, the Klan, their masters, and their newfound freedom. Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), and The Nightwalker. She has also edited My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery and We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard, companion volumes to this book. She now lives in Raleigh, NC.

 

 

Editorial Reviews

 

 

From School Library Journal

YA-- From 284 Federal Writers' Project interviews gathered during the 1930s, Hurmence has edited 27 pieces in which ex-slaves from South Carolina discuss their homes, chores, masters, families, and celebrations during slave times. As she notes in her introduction, the former slaves' seeming nostalgia for old times may have resulted from their ages (all were over 80 at the time of the interviews) and Depression-linked poverty, the reality that freedom often meant sharecropping and violence from the KKK, and the fact that their interviewers were white. Nonetheless, the collection offers students a chance to use readable primary sources to research details of the everyday lives of Southern slaves.

Alice Conlon, University of Houston

Copyright 1989 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

 

From Library Journal

Selected from the Federal Writers' Pro ject slave narratives, this first-hand ac count of slavery features interviews with 27 former South Carolina slaves who were at least ten years old when they were freed. It is a successor to Hurmence's My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk about Slav ery (1984).--MR
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

About the Author

Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), and The Nightwalker. She has also edited My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery and We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard, companion volumes to this book. She now lives in Raleigh, NC.

  

 

Product details

  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Blair (January 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089587069X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895870698
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

 

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