About the "Voices of Slavery" Series

The Voices of Slavery Series is an unabridged republication of over 2200 interviews carried out in the 1930s by the Federal Writers Project – one of the key projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration, which provided employment to millions in the years following The Great Depression in the United States of America. 

These “slave narratives” are authentic, first-hand accounts of men and women born into slavery. The interviewees recall their childhood, the American Civil War, their enslavement, and emancipation; and they reflect on their subsequent freedom, itself not without challenges.

The interviewees range in age, from 50 to well over 100; their stories are told in their own words, and their dialect is perfectly preserved by the transcribers. Their stories are both heart-warming and heart-breaking; rich with detail, documenting the best and worst of humanity during a period of history that still affects life the lives of millions of people today.

We are now well into the 21st century and there are estimated to be around 40 million slaves around the world. 10 million of them are children. History conveniently divides itself into chapters; the chapter on the Atlantic Slave Trade may have ended, but the story of slavery, racism and oppression is ongoing.

In repackaging and republishing these fascinating interviews - many of them illustrated with photos of the interviewees - we hope to enable readers to empathise with victims of slavery, both past and present, and to gain an insight into the historical and cultural inheritance that - even today - affects the lives of so many human beings.