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Cover Story June 24, 2004

The Voices and Faces of Slavery...



by lyle e. davis


Those of us who scribble for a living are sometimes able to do great things.  One such feat was accomplished as a result of the Federal Writer’s Project, 1936-1938.  More than 2300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves were collected.  It all took place in the 1930s but the impact is just as strong today as it must have been then.  Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 was a Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.


Read now, and listen to the heartbeat of an earlier America






These are the 10 winners of this year's Bulwer Lytton contest (run by the English Department of San Jose State University), wherein one writes ONLY THE FIRST LINE OF A BAD NOVEL.


10) As a scientist, Throckmor-ton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber he would never hear the end of it.


9) Just beyond the Narrows the river widens.


8) With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue    eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description.