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Black Voices - African American Autobiography and Biography: Getting Started

Published personal accounts of African Americans from slavery to freedom.

About the Franklin Research Center

The John Hope Franklin Research Center is a repository and outreach division for African and African American history and culture in the David M. Rubenstien Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

Please contact the Franklin Research Center if you are interested in donating materials.


Black Voices Bibliography


The Black Voices bibliography is a collection of autobiographical and biographical accounts of African Americans from slavery to freedom held in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book  Manuscript Library. These accounts speak to the silences that appear in the history of the segregated South, providing written testimony about the texture of Black life during a period of profound repression.

The bibliography focuses on published narratives from a range of periods.These include Slave Narratives (1700-1865), Former Slave/Nadir Narratives (1865-1900), Jim Crow Narratives (1900-1965), and Contemporary Voices (1965-present). The final catagory includes published orations by African Americans from 1700-1900.

Collectively, these texts account for the changes of life and experiences of African Americans through the period of enslavement, emancipation, and the character of White repression after Reconstruction, and detail the coming of Jim Crow segregation and the contours of Black life in the segregated South through modern times.

While not a comprehensive list of texts in the Rubenstein Library collection, the Black Voices bibliography provides key references that are a useful starting point for anyone interested in learning more about African American narratives.

Please contact staff of the Rubenstein Library if you have questions about materials in our collections.

Subject Guide

John Gartrell
Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture

Box 90185

Durham, NC 27708

Website / Blog Page


The "Black Voices" LibGuide was co-published by Gloria Ayee, 2014-2015 Franklin Research Center Graduate Intern.