Texas Slave Narratives
Project info

The Federal Writers Project began in the Library of Congress as a part of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” during the depression era. The mission of the project was to collect oral accounts from former slaves as a way to account for the experience of slavery since so few records existed that expressed such an experience from the perspective of the slave. This work documents sites described in the Texas Slave Narratives. These sites have been located based on descriptions from people interviewed in the narratives and through the use of County level records to locate properties in instances where only the name of a former master was given. By photographing these sites I hope to bring new life to the document and to consider its legacy over a half-century later. I began using the Texas Slave Narratives as a supplement for architectural research, scouring its pages for clues about how plantation homes were constructed, since these were the people who built them. I quickly realized, however that the contemporary issues raised by the document itself were much broader than architecture alone. These accounts from former slaves, if expanded in a modern context, offer the unique possibility to connect descendants of other slaves with their ancestors, and to address questions about the nature of bias during the transcription process.