About The Book
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.
“A rich source of cultural information . . . Eloquent and important. It stands as a group portrait of people not long dead, all brutally deprived of their freedom, some insidiously deprived of the very idea that they should be free.” –The New York Times
“Remarkably articulate . . . vivid, moving and often beautifully cadenced.” –The New Yorker
“The slave narratives are jewels.” –The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“The voice and people in Bullwhip Days are so real that the book becomes a visual narrative. This oral history tells us as much about our past as it does our present, and I suspect readers will continue to hear the voices from these pages long after they have put the book down.” –David Lamb, author of The Africans
“The slave narratives contain the heart of Afro-American culture. Whereas only one hundred or so slaves published book-length testimonies, thousands were interviewed and left oral testimonies about the black slave experience. Bullwhip Days is the most accessible and usable edition of these colorful narratives. This well-edited text is indispensable to American and Afro-American history and literature classes at all levels.” –Henry Louis Gates, Jr.