The full text for the WPA Slave Narratives is available for free online. One of the better online resources for searching and accessing this collection is found via this link. Besides the online full text, it provides indexes, allowing you to browse, search and access the full text by state and people's names.
Step by Step Tutorial
Download a PDF of all people interviewed in the WPA Slave Narratives by name, with state, volume, part, and Project Gutenberg®* file number: People Interviewed in WPA Slave Narrative Volumes
The distinguishing state name in a full WPA Slave Narrative title occurs about 51 words from the start, causing the shorter Project Gutenberg® entries to look alike. For convenience, here (http://johnsepich.com/wpa-slave-narratives/people-and-files ) are the Project Gutenberg® file numbers for the state names and their parts, linked to the Project Gutenberg® files.
1. Choose the state "Texas" to search. Find Texas on the list > Click Texas-1 30576
2. Click the title “Slave Narratives: …”
3. For this example, find “Read this book online: HTML” and click to access the online full text.
4. Find the interviewee’s name “Allen, Sarah” and click on the hyperlinked page number 12 to access the online full text of the interview.
There are several additional resources for accessing the WPA Slave Narratives. The resources at the Library of Congress are particularly useful and easily accessible. Please see below for a list of these resources.
The Library of Congress Collection
"Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938"
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA). At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.
Omar Ibn Said Collection in the Library of Congress
The Omar Ibn Said Collection consists of 42 digitized documents in both English and Arabic, including an 1831 manuscript in Arabic on "The Life of Omar Ibn Said," a West African slave in America, which is the centerpiece of this unique collection of texts. Some of the manuscripts in this collection include texts in Arabic by another West African slave in Panama, and others from individuals located in West Africa.
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Harry S. Truman Library & Museum
Louisiana History and Heritage Education Programs
Mississippi History Now
National Archives Voices of Emancipation
State Library of North Carolina
University of Arkansas