Class in the Slave Narrative

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


William L. Andrews
E. Maynard Adams Professor of English
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Seminar

Slave narratives tell stories of oppression, identity, and survival. They also tell stories of class differences among the enslaved as well as caste differences between masters and the enslaved. This seminar will explore perceptions of class and caste in the narratives of people like Frederick Douglass, James W.C. Pennington, and Harriet Jacobs. It will examine the self-consciousness about class and the class status they and their families held in the South before they ever gained their freedom, and it will look at class-inflected comments these writers made about life in the North. Join us for a fresh and illuminating approach to the slave narrative.

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Assigned Readings

    Selected Excerpts from Slave Narratives.

  1. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. (1845), Frederick Douglass.
  2. Narrative William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave. (1847), William Wells Brown.
  3. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (1861), Harriet Jacobs.
  4. The Fugitive Blacksmith. (1849), James W.C. Pennington.
  5. Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave. (1825), William Grimes.

Seminar Recording