Slave Narrative: Reading List (Quadrese’)

Key Terms: Story-telling, family memoirs, narratives, autobiographical memory, slave narratives, freedom narratives

Secondary Works/ Theoretical Works :

Critical Race Theory

  • Critical Race Theory: A Introduction (Delgado)

Davis, Rocio G. Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Family Memoirs, U of Hawai’i, 2011.

The Art of Slave Narratives: Original Essays in Criticism and Theory, edited by John Sekora and Darwin T. Turner, 1983.

Lovejoy, Paul E. “‘Freedom Narratives’ of Transatlantic Slavery.” Slavery & Abolition, vol 32, 2011.

Rienhart, Nicholas T.‘“I Talk More of The French”Creole Folklore and the Federal Writers’ Project.” Callaloo, 39, 2, 2016:

Spillers, Hortense. “Momma’s Baby, Poppa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.”

Zafar, Rafia. We Wear the Mask: African Americans Write Americans Literature, 1760- 1870, New York: U of Columbia, 1991.

Nayar, Sheila J. “The Enslaved Narrative:White Overseers and the Ambiguity of the Story-Told Self in Early African-American Autobiography.” Biography, 39, 2, 2016.

. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Charles T. Davis, Oxford: 1990.

PaulGilroy: The Black Atlantic


Callaloo    |  Biography|  Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies


I knew I was interested in stories and storytelling, specifically how Black people told stories. And this summer I read a work by Zora Neal Hurston and it resonated with me. So I gathered that texts on my list would examine storytelling and slave narratives. Furthermore, my list is comprised of authors, articles, or themes that helps interrogate Black life. Since the basis of the recounted stories were personal stories, I am Callolinterested in the language used to describe the quotidian and that relationship to the narrative structure as a whole. My list  will also, primarily have Black writers and thinkers. Because marginalized communities’ stories have similarities, consideration will be given to non-Black writers of color. Zora Neale Hurston is the only “author” of interest right now; however, I am also interested in the accounts of the  formerly enslaved as dictated to the Worker’s Progress Administration (WPA).


Might the narrative structure of formerly enslaved people’s stories, suggest an appropriate dictation methodology for scribing Black people’s histories?

What are Black stories?

How are Black stories told?

Who has the authority over the narrative(s)?

Does racial/ethnic background inform approaches to dictating?