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On Jordan's Stormy Banks: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Georgia

Andrew Waters, editor

John F. Blair, Publisher
$11.95 paperback
5x 7 ½   
196 pages
Published in 2000

During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers’ Project engaged jobless writers and researchers to interview former slaves about their experiences in bondage. Most of the interviewees were by then in their eighties and nineties, and their memories were soon to be lost to history. The effort was a huge success, eventually encompassing more than two thousand interviews and ten thousand pages of material across seventeen states.

This collection presents the personal narratives of twenty-eight former Georgia slaves. As editor Andrew Waters notes, the “two ends of the human perspective—terror and joy” are often evident within the same interviews, as the ex-slaves tell of the abuses they endured while they simultaneously yearn for younger, simpler days. The result is a complex mix of emotions spoken out of a dark past that must not be forgotten.


“This collection of Georgia interviews of the WPA slave narratives (interviews with ex-slaves done in the 1930s) is a fine addition to the series. Pretty good stuff here with excellent storytelling. What's really fascinating is the former slave of Georgia Sen. J.H. Hill (whose name is not given) and his recollection of the Atlanta Riot of 1906 as well as slavery. That's the beauty of this series. These accounts give you a lot of well-told firsthand information that the history books missed.” —Amazon.com reviewer