American Slave Stories - Slave Narratives - The stories you are about to read are true. They were related to interviewers during the 1930's. Each story was told by an ex-slave or a relative of an ex-slave from the stories they heard or the things they witnessed. The interviews, of which over 2,300 exist, are an absolute treasure of information giving the slaves perspective on their lives during those dark days in American history. Whilst some of the stories are deplorable in the extreme and will doubt leave you feeling shocked at the level of inhumanity shown to these people, it is with confidence that I believe some stories will leave you smiling and in some instances even uplifted. The following narratives have been dissected from the many volumes of these interviews and have been included in the hope that it offers a broad array of subject matter on which the reader can dwell and ponder.
Chattel slavery, also called traditional slavery, is so named because people are treated as the chattel (personal property) of an owner and are bought and sold as if they were commodities. It is the least prevalent form of slavery in the world today. An estimated 12 million Africans arrived in the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States. The usual estimate is that about 15% of slaves died during the voyage, with mortality rates considerably higher in Africa itself in the process of capturing and transporting indigenous peoples to the ships.