by Ken Lawrence


Nearly all of the information presented here came from the WPA collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. In addition to the 232 boxes of unprocessed material and county histories, WPA materials are scattered throughout the subject and picture files maintained by the Archives. Also helpful were materials in a small box at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., in Record Group number 69 entitled “Records of the Former Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project, Ex- Slave Stories.”

Anyone who wants to examine my references more carefully will have no difficulty locating them except for a few quotes from items in the unprocessed WPA collection in Jackson. Partial citations are presented in the text whenever necessary, and all the references I used in addition to WPA materials are listed below. The list is complete but not embellished; I have included only those works used as sources of fact or interpretation or those I have specifically attacked. Since the references are general, any edition of a source will suffice. Hence, information on publication would serve no useful purpose; it is included only where obscurity might make a particular item hard to find.

Aptheker, Herbert. American Negro Slave Revolts. 1943.

———. “Mississippi Reconstruction and the Negro Leader, Charles Caldwell.” 1937. In To Be Free: Studies in American Negro History, 1948.

Associated Press. “Oldest American Leads Fla. Bicentennial Parade.” Clarion Ledger-Jackson Daily News, July 4, 1976.

Bennett, Lerone, Jr. Black Power U.S.A.: The Human Side of Reconstruction 1867–1877. 1967.

———. The Shaping of Black America. 1975.

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. 1972.

———. “Social Structure and Reactions in the Slave Community—Evidence from New Sources.” A paper read to a symposium at the University of Mississippi on October 2, 1975. In Perspectives and Irony in American Slavery, edited by Harry P. Owens, 1976, retitled “Status and Social Structure in the Slave Community: Evidence from New Sources.”

———. “Using the Testimony of Ex-Slaves: Approaches and Problems.” The Journal of Southern History 41, no. 4 (November 1975).

Bontemps, Arna. Black Thunder. 1936.

Boswell, George W. “The WPA-Collected Archives in Jackson.” Mississippi Folklore Register, Winter 1968.

Botkin, Benjamin A., ed. Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery, 1945.

Brown, William Wells. Narrative of William Wells Brown, A Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself. 1847.

Campbell, Israel. Bond and Free: Or Yearnings from My Green Brier House. 1861.

Chapman, Abraham. Steal Away: Stories of the Runaway Slaves. 1971.

Cieciorka, Bobbi, and Cieciorka, Frank. Negroes in American History: A Freedom Primer. Atlanta: SNCC, 1965.

“The Contemplated Field of John Brown's Operations.” Vicksburg Daily Whig, January 12, 1860.

Crowell, Suzanne. Appalachian People's History Book. Louisville: SCEF, 1970.

Delaney, Joseph. “Slaves’ Narratives Give Accounts of Slavery in Interesting Book.” Muhammad Speaks, November 9, 1973.

Douglass, Eri. “The Federal Writers’ Project in Mississippi.” Journal of Mississippi History 1, no. 2 (April 1939).

Douglass, Frederick. Lessons of the Hour. 1894.

Drew, Benjamin. The Refugee, or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada: A North-Side View of Slavery. 1856.

DuBois, W. E. B. Black Reconstruction in America, An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880. 1935.

Elkins, Stanley M. Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. 1959.

———. “The Slavery Debate.” Commentary (December 1975).

Federal Writers’ Project. Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State. 1938.

———. Mississippi Gulf Coast: Yesterday and Today. 1939.

Fogel, Robert William, and Engerman, Stanley L. Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. 1974.

Garner, James Wilford. Reconstruction in Mississippi. 1901.

Genovese, Eugene D. “Getting to Know the Slaves.” New York Review of Books, September 21, 1972.

Gover, Robert. One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding. 1961.

Gray, Simon. Letters in Robert S. Starobin. Blacks in Bondage: Letters of American Slaves. 1974.

Haley, Alex. Roots. 1976.

Harris, John. Voices from Slavery. 1971.

Haskell, Thomas L. “The True and Tragical History of ‘Time on the Cross’.” New York Review of Books, October 2, 1975.

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. Army Life in a Black Regiment. 1869.

Hughes, Louis. Thirty Years a Slave. From Bondage to Freedom. 1897.

James, C. L. R. Black Studies and the Contemporary Student. Detroit: Facing Reality Publishing Company, 1969.

———. “The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, Some Interpretations of Their Significance in the Development of the United States and the Western World.” Amistad 1 (1970).

Lawrence, Ken. Report in SCEF Notes, June 30, 1973.

———. “The Roots of Class Struggle in the South.” Jackson: SCEF, 1973.

———. “Oral History of Slavery.” Southern Exposure (Winter 1974).

———. “Mississippi's First Labor Union.” Tougaloo: Freedom Information Service, 1974.

———. “History in the Service of Racism: The Case of Time on the Cross.” Tougaloo: Freedom Information Service, 1975.

———. “Karl Marx on American Slavery.” Tougaloo: Freedom Information Service, 1976.

Loewen, James W., and Sallis, Charles, eds. Mississippi: Conflict and Change. 1974,

Lynch, John Roy. Reminiscences of an Active Life, The Autobiography of John Roy Lynch. Edited by John Hope Franklin, 1970.

Marx, Karl. The Poverty of Philosophy. 1847.

Meltzer, Milton. In Their Own Words: A History of the American Negro. Vol. 1, 1619–1865, 1964; Vol. 2, 1865–1916, 1965.

———. Freedom Comes to Mississippi: The Story of Reconstruction. 1970.

Merrill, Sam. “At 133, He's a ‘Real’ Survival Machine.” Chicago Tribune, February 8, 1976.

Montgomery, Benjamin T. Letters to Joseph E. Davis. In Joseph E. Davis papers, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Nichols, Charles H. Black Men in Chains: Narratives by Escaped Slaves. 1972.

“Old John Brown at Oxford, Mississippi.” Vicksburg Weekly Whig, January 11, 1860.

Onstott, Kyle. Mandingo. 1957.

———. Drum. 1962.

Perdue, Charles L., Jr., Barden, Thomas E., and Phillips, Robert K. Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-Slaves. 1976.

Phillips, Ulrich B. American Negro Slavery. 1918.

Rawick, George P., ed. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. 1972.

———. From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community. 1972.

Reddick, Lawrence D. “A New Interpretation for Negro History.” Journal of Negro History 22, no. 1 (January 1937).

Schwartz, Rosalie. Across the Rio to Freedom: U.S. Negroes in Mexico. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1975.

Scott, John Anthony. Hard Trials on My Way: Slavery and the Struggle Against It. 1974.

Stampp, Kenneth M. “Slavery—The Historian's Burden.” A paper read to a symposium at the University of Mississippi on October 3, 1975. In Perspectives and Irony in American Slavery, edited by Harry P. Owens, 1976.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Black Power: SNCC Speaks for Itself. Ann Arbor: Radical Education Project, n.d.

Sydnor, Charles S. Slavery in Mississippi. 1933.

Twain, Mark. “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It.” Atlantic Monthly (November 1874). Also in Mark Twain, A Pen Warmed Up in Hell: Mark Twain in Protest, edited by Frederick Anderson, 1972.

———. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 1884.

———. “Corn-Pone Opinions.” In Europe and Elsewhere, edited by Alfred Bigelow Paine, 1923. Also in Mark Twain on the Damned Human Race, edited by Janet Smith, 1962.

Walker, Margaret. Jubilee. 1966.

———. How I Wrote Jubilee. Chicago: Third World Press, 1972.

Ward, Matthew. Indignant Heart. New York: New Books, 1952.

Watson, Henry. Narrative of Henry Watson, A Fugitive Slave. 1850.

Wells, Ida B. Crusade for Justice, The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Edited by Alfreda M. Duster, 1970.

Wharton, Vernon Lane. The Negro in Mississippi 1865–1890. 1947.

Wood, Peter. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 Through the Stono Rebellion. 1974.

Woodson, Carter G. “Review of Slavery in Mississippi.” Journal of Negro History 19, no. 3 (1934).

Woodward, C. Vann. “Clio with Soul.” Journal of American History 56, no. 1 (June 1969).

———. “History from Slave Sources.” The American Historical Review 79, no. 2 (April 1974).

Yetman, Norman R., ed. Life Under the “Peculiar Institution.” Also sold as Voices from Slavery. 1970.

Ken Lawrence

Jackson, Mississippi

December 1976


*This section was sufficient at the time it was written, but the subsequent appearance of Alex Haley's Roots (both the written and televised versions) requires an adjustment. At a minimum, the success of Haley's enterprise reveals the enormous potential for the redemption of American culture, particularly once a proper foundation has been laid. Despite the range of criticism aimed at Roots, the masses have registered their approval on the level that capitalism understands best. News reports have quoted Haley as ranking his achievement with the Holy Bible as a literary classic. The irony of his prediction is that a worse fate is hard to imagine: if Haley is right, it will be because he has failed to ignite a renaissance, but if he is wrong, Roots will be remembered as “merely” the first sign of an unprecedented cultural revival in the United States.