Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember: An Oral History

In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration commissioned an oral history of the remaining former slaves. Bullwhip Days is a remarkable compendium of selections from these extraordinary interviews, providing an unflinching portrait of the world of government-sanctioned slavery of Africans in America. Here are twenty-nine full narrations, as well as nine sections of excerpts related to particular aspects of slave life, from religion to plantation life to the Reconstruction era. Skillfully edited, these chronicles bear eloquent witness to the trials of slaves in America, reveal the wide range of conditions of human bondage, and provide sobering insight into the roots of racism in today's society.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2015-01-13

This is one of the most important books I have read as an American adult male of African decent. American slavery will forever be a blight on her history. The effects of slavery and Jim Crow can still be seen and felt today. As a young black man from the great state of Mississippi, I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who were born in the Jim Crow south (Mississippi & Alabama) who did not teach me about race. I didn't know I was black until the third grade. The one negative aspect of the upbringing free of color, was the my indifference to my ancestral history. This book brought many things into perspective. It showed me how blessed I am to be alive in this certain time in this country. The pain, joy, sorrow, and laughter of the narrators leap off the page at you. The way they convey their stories show how slavery really was a long lasting curse on this country. I'm glad somebody had the idea to document their stories and record them for all time. Being fortunate enough to know a large portion of my family tree (up to my 3rd great grandparents on both sides), this book has helped me realize my place in the history of America. As the married father of 5 children (who also happen to be black) and a U.S. Marine I hope to continue to be the embodiment of the hope of freedom these slaves had. This book is a must have for all history buffs and those who want to know more about the heritage of this country. This is not a black heritage book neither is it a black history book. It is an American history book.

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