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March 1999

American Slave Narratives

American Slave Narratives contains a set of oral interviews with former slaves collected in the 1930's. The narratives contain stories of their lives before and after freedom. The site also features photographs and RealAudio sound clips from many of the original interviews.

The site has a simple layout and nice black-and-white images.

The site is easy to navigate. The main page has links to the site's main sections. The individual pages have navigational links at the bottom of the page.

The American Slaves Narratives site tells the story of an important chapter in American history. The stories show us what life was like for these Americans, both as slaves and as free citizens. Teachers will want to go to the Reading the Narratives section to get insight into guiding students to a deeper understanding of the narratives. The interviews are written down in the original vernacular of the elder being interviewed. For the rhythm of the language, the interviews are well worth reading aloud. Teachers should note that, like Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, these narratives use racial language that is controversial today. The stories are rated at a third-grade reading level.