Survey of American Literature: Eng 253

One genre with which few modern students are familiar is the slave narrative.  Many of them may be aware of the Hollywood version of "Twenty Years a Slave", and may know who Frederick Douglass is, but most are unaware of the hundreds of other first-person stories of slave life that were written or transcribed. This is a mode of American literature worth delving into; Donna Campbell provides a fine introduction to the topic.  In addition to the primary text by Solomon Northup, on which the famous movie was based, this unit includes a multimedia "crash course on American Slavery" that, despite being brief and entertaining, provides reliable historical information; links to the full text of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave-girl and Douglass' Narrative of the Life; a video of Douglass' 4th of July speech on race and patriotism, still relevant today; and a number of assignments designed to help students navigate the complex, fraught issues embedded in the genre.

Click here: Slave Narratives, Donna Campbell's Intro to

Click here: Link to Douglass, Narrative of the Life

Click here: Slave Narratives, Homework, Create Discussion Questions

click here:  Narrative of Betty Foreman Chessier

click here: Selection of slave narratives from WPA

Click here: "Twelve Years a Slave" ; link to manuscript of Solomon Northup

Click here: Douglass' 4th of July speech, link to Morgan Freeman video

Click here: Crash course on American Slavery

Click here: Link to Harriet Jacobs

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