Slave Narratives

Due by Monday, November 6, 2017 (5pm)

By Monday, November 6 [REVISED], students will be required to post a custom-made Google Map or a StorymapJS, which they’ve designed to help illustrate the story of a published American slave narrative.  Each map should be embedded within a short blog post (about 800-1,000 words, or 4-5 pages) at the course website that describes the biography of the enslaved subject within the context of American slavery or antislavery, using citations to multiple secondary sources.


  • The maps themselves should contain about 8-10 place marks with each one including brief excerpted text from the published narrative (properly cited) along with supporting images or video clips (properly credited).  The place marks should be positioned in correct geographical position and should be arranged in chronological order on the left-hand navigation column.
  • Primary source material for this project should come from North American Slave Narratives at the Documenting the American South website.
  • Secondary source research can come from a variety of places, including William Andrews’s introduction to the narratives project, Peter Kolchin’s book on American Slavery, specialized reference materials including online resources like Black Past, and the usual suspects of academic books and articles via the Library catalog, Google Books, JSTOR, American National Biography, or other standard resources.
  • Late maps will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Google Map Instructions

Suggested Placemark Format

LOCATION:  Christiana, PA, site of 1851 resistance // IMAGE:  Effects of the Fugitive Slave Law (lithograph, Library of Congress) // TEXT: “Appearing less than a month after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act [in September 1850], the print [above] shows four well-dressed black men shot down in a cornfield.  Texts from the Bible and the Declaration of Independence adorn the bottom of the print.  The effects of the Fugitive Slave Act, suggests the image, will be the routine murder of black men, whether slave or free, in violation of all humanity.”  (Louis Masur, Civil War (2010), p. 14) //  DOCUMENT– Fugitive Slave Act of 1850:

Sample Posts

Featured Narratives

The two most famous published ex-slave narratives were produced by Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington.  Students can choose to write about Douglass’s Narrative (1845) (or one of his two other subsequent autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom from 1855 or Life and Times from 1892) or Washington’s Up From Slavery (1901), but here are about two dozen more choices from among the significant (and teachable) ex-slave narratives that have been published in American history, available full-text online from “North American Slave Narratives,” in Documenting the American South.


Blog Posting Instructions

Video Tutorials