Texts by slaves/ex-slaves/free people
Given the problems of literacy, memory, the power relationships within slavery and the memories of ex- slaves, these sources, like all sources, need to be considered critically.
Critical Thinking About the Past: We face a significant challenge when we seek the ex-slave's voice in telling their own history. Narratives published in the nineteenth century can't be understood outside of their political context - many were produced as texts intended to show the evil of slavery. Equally, interviews with ex-slaves conducted in the 1930s reveal the challenges of oral history: who is interviewing whom matters. This doesn't mean we should discount these narratives as a source 9though some have). If we do use them, we should show an awareness of their limitations and consider what other sources we could use to build our analysis.