John F. Blair, Publisher

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Real Voices Real History Series


"A person's voice has always held more power over us than words alone."
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

John F. Blair, Publisher's "Real Voices, Real History™" series started with the WPA slave narratives. During the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt employed jobless writers and researchers to capture thousands of voices of former slaves spread throughout the United States. The WPA eventually collected more than two thousand narratives from seventeen states, cataloging them in the Library of Congress as Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the U.S. from Interviews with Former Slaves. Though the WPA performed a major service by collecting these narratives, the stories languished in the Library of Congress for several decades until the 1970s when George Rawick put the narratives into a form that was more accessible to the public, entitled The American Slave: A Composite Biography.

Belinda Hurmence was among the first to realize that many readers were still intimidated by the multivolume sets of slave narratives made available by Rawick. Culling the narratives collected by the WPA and others, she edited her first concise volume of slave narratives, My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery, providing insight into the lives of former slaves in North Carolina. Following the positive reaction she received from the public, she published two more volumes of slave narratives from South Carolina and Virginia. Her books have proved perennial bestsellers for John F. Blair, Publisher.

Finding that readers were hungry for that special voice the former slaves provided, John F. Blair, Publisher, started exploring the idea of expanding their line of slave narratives, and of expanding the idea of history told by the individuals who personally experienced it. Since then, John F. Blair, Publisher, has published 12 total volumes of slave narratives, three volumes from the Cherokees, and four other Real Voices, Real History collections. John F. Blair, Publisher, continues to expand the Real Voices, Real History series to this day. The newest volume Chained to the Land, edited by Lynette Ater Tanner, will be published in spring of 2014.



Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember: Personal Accounts of Slavery in South Carolina
edited by Belinda Hurmence

Black Indian Slave Narratives
edited by Patrick Minges

Chained to the Land: Voices from Cotton & Cane Plantations
edited by Lynette Ater Tanner

Cherokee Voices: Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East
edited by Vicki Rozema

Far More Terrible for Women: Personal Accounts of Women in Slavery
edited by Patrick Minges

Hark the Sound of Tar Heel Voices: 220 Years of UNC History
edited by Daniel W. Barefoot

I Was Born in Slavery: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Texas
edited by Andrew Waters

The Jamestown Adventure: Accounts of the Virginia Colony, 1605-1614
edited by Ed Southern

Mighty Rough Times, I Tell You: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Tennessee
edited by Andrea Sutcliffe

My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery: Personal Accounts of Slavery in North Carolina
edited by Belinda Hurmence

No Man's Yoke on My Shoulders: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Florida
edited by Horace Randall Williams

On Jordan's Stormy Banks: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Georgia
edited by Andrew Waters

Prayin' to Be Set Free: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Mississippi
edited by Andrew Waters

Voices from the American Revolution in the Carolinas
edited by Ed Southern

Voices from St. Simons: Personal Narratives of an Island's Past
edited by Stephen Doster

Voices from the Trail of Tears
edited by Vicki Rozema

Voices of Cherokee Women
edited by Carolyn Ross Johnston

We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Virginia
edited by Belinda Hurmence

Weren't No Good Times: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Alabama
edited by Horace Randall Williams