Mississippi Narrative

Mississippi Narrative

Oral History Comparison Papers: Students will write 2 two-to-three-page comparison papers
on oral histories of their choosing from Mississippi’s Works Progress Administration Slave
Narratives and from participants in Mississippi’s 1964 Freedom Summer voter registration and
voter education project. (10% of grade each)
The full text of the Mississippi Slave Narratives can be found at this link. For this analysis, you
will compare the two interviews in terms of how the two individuals discussed violence, their
attitudes toward their enslavers, and the ways in which the work they did influenced their particular
experience under slavery. You should also give a brief sense of whether or not you think the
interviews you chose are reliable depictions of life under slavery. (Note that these interviews took
place in the 1930s, the participants were often in their 80s or 90s or even older, and had seen a
great deal of violence in the preceding six decades. As such, some of them “held their tongue” and
told the white interviewers what they thought they wanted to hear. Others did not.


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