Quantitative Data Coded from the Federal Writers' Project Slave Narratives, United States, 1936-1938 (ICPSR 36381)

Version Date: May 8, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36381.v1

Version V1

Project Slave Narratives, 1936-1938

This project entailed recording and coding information from slave narratives gathered as part of the Federal Writers' Project. Between 1936 and 1938, federal authorities organized teams of interviewers in seventeen states who gathered the recollections of over two thousand former slaves. The typescript of these interviews, running to more than ten thousand pages, was deposited in the Library of Congress and has been available on microfiche for many years. Information on the actions, attitudes, beliefs and experiences of slaves was coded from 2,358 slave narratives.

Escott, Paul D. Quantitative Data Coded from the Federal Writers’ Project Slave Narratives, United States, 1936-1938. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-05-08. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36381.v1

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American Philosophical Society, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Memorial Foundation, Foundation of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina

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Users are reminded that these data are to be used solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information, and not for the investigation of specific individuals or organizations.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
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1936 -- 1938
1975 -- 1976
  1. For the full narratives please visit the Library of Congress site Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938.
  2. The Federal Writers' Project was a United States government program created during the Great Depression to provide jobs for out of work writers, and produce publications that would provide a unique view of of America.

  3. For additional information about this project please refer to the book "Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives" by Paul D. Escott (1979) (ISBN: 9780807813430)

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The purpose of the study was to present evidence from slave narratives gathered as part of the Federal Writer's project by systematically coding the narratives.

Between 1936 and 1938, federal authorities organized teams of interviewers in seventeen states to gather the recollections of over two thousand former slaves as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. This project entailed recording and coding information from these interview transcripts into quantitative datasets.

After examination of a sample drawn from the collections of narratives, the principal investigator identified categories of information to systematically code. Using a form that listed each of these categories of information, the principal investigator read each narrative and recorded information into quantitative variables. Information on the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of slaves was coded from 2,358 slave narratives.

A total of 2,358 slave narratives were coded including 793 southeast slave narratives, 745 border slave narratives, 738 southwest slave narratives, and 82 miscellaneous slave narratives.

Cross-sectional

Slave narratives from the Federal Writers' Project

Individual

Federal Writers' Project Slave Narratives

This data collection includes 77 variables coded from slave narratives that are predominantly categorical. In addition to questions regarding the slave's personal demographics, the study includes questions about the slave's family and the plantation he or she resided on. Additional questions provide information on their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences during their time spent as a slave and afterwards if they had been freed.

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2018-05-08

2018-05-08 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
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No weight variables are present in the dataset.

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Notes

  • Curation and dissemination of this study is provided by the institutional members of ICPSR, and data is available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. To determine if you are at a member institution, check the list of ICPSR member institutions, or learn more about becoming a member.

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This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).