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What are the WPA slave narratives?

What must it have been like to be a slave? To have little or no say over the circumstances of your life? To own nothing, not even yourself?

Fortunately, someone thought to ask. During the Great Depression, writers from the Works Progress Administration interviewed more than 2,300 former slaves and preserved their stories for posterity in what are now called the WPA slave narratives.

You can read a sample of the slaves' stories and view their photos online at a site maintained by the University of Virginia.

The entire collection exists as a book titled "The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography."

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