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Good Works: Federal Writers Project
4/1/2005
Discover WPA-generated oral histories on the Library of Congress' Web site.

The Historical Records Survey's sister program, the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), assigned writers a variety of tasks, including conducting oral histories. The Library of Congress has posted two FWP collections on its American Memory Web site.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 <memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html> contains more than 2,300 first-personaccounts, such as 72-year-old Josephine Howell's. “My mother was Rebecca Jones. She was born in Nashville, Tenn.,” Howell told FWP interviewer Irene Robinson. “Grandma was a cook and a breeding woman … she was the mother of 21 children … Mama said she was 8 years old when Gabe McAlway come to Nashville and got her. He bought her. He was a young man and a saloon-keeper at Augusta, Ark.”

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