Semester II Anchor-Historical Narrative

1113 Words5 Pages
Semester II Anchor – Historical Narrative

Back in 1936, I was unsuccessful in my attempts to find a suitable job in journalism, even

though I graduated from Harvard University with a major in English. Coincidentally, I was

contacted by Jacob Baker, representing the Federal Writers Project, with the offer to interview

former slaves in order to give insight to future generations about the system of slavery from

those who actually experienced its cruelty. Of course, I accepted immediately and began

conversing with several slaves within the month. The Federal Writers Project has definitely been

the most eye-opening experience of my entire life, and it has already been fifteen years since I

first interviewed these fascinating people.
…show more content…
Early in her interview, I remember her explaining that her owners

were not only kind to her through their teaching of the alphabet, but also to her parents,

specifically her father who was continuously supplied with tasks from their master for additional

money after gaining freedom. This struck me as particularly generous, because not only did the

master keep in touch with the family after the abolishment of slavery, but he tried to provide the

family with the most meaningful opportunities in the “real world.” Bernice told me that her

mother remained on the plantation for an additional year after freedom, and later when her

mother became ill, their old mistress would travel over six miles with gifts every day until her

death. Bernice’s explanation of the close bond between her family and her old masters made me

realize that it was not only the slaves who felt connected to their owners long after freedom, but

some plantation owners grew to care their slaves like family of their own. So although they

supported the horrible institution of slavery itself, it did not prevent relationships between their

slaves and them.

My final interview from another North Carolina native, Betty Bormer, who described
Open Document