Culture The Best Slave Narratives in American History  

Ranker Books
558 votes 347 voters 11.1k views 35 items

A list of the most important slave narratives in American literature. True stories told by fugitive or freed slaves allow modern readers to experience the history of slavery in an immediate and personal way. Nothing can make a reader identify with an author like an autobiography or biography; reading real peoples' experiences in their own words can shape our sense of humility, empathy, and compassion.

These factual accounts of slavery, suffering, escape, and freedom by figures like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass allow modern audiences to go beyond superficial images to a fuller understanding of the slave experience. In illuminating the humanity of the oppressed, these stories also contextualize a horrific American institution that continues to profoundly shape our culture.

There are many historical accounts that pertain to the topic of slavery from the perspective of slaves themselves. We've compiled some of the most famous personal tales by slaves from American history. Vote up the best slave narratives below and if we missed any important non-fiction slave stories, add them to the list.

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list ordered by
1
65 17
The Interesting Narrative of t... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
2
61 17
Incidents in the Life of a Sla... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
3
50 13
Narrative of the Life of Frede... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
4
26 3
Life and Times of Frederick Do... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
5
39 7
Twelve Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
Solomon Northup
6
22 5
My Bondage and My Freedom is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
Frederick Douglass
7
24 8
Roots: The Saga of an American... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
8
17 3
Up From Slavery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
Booker T. Washington
9
14 2
Confessions of Nat Turner Lead... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
10
9 1
The narrative of William W. Br... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
11
9 1
My southern home is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
William Wells Brown
12
10 2
Behind the Scenes in the Linco... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
13
13 5
Narrative of my escape from sl... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
14
7 3
The Classic Slave Narratives is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
15
7 4
The History of Mary Prince is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
16
6 3
Life of William Grimes, the ru... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
17
6 3
Memories of Childhood's Slaver... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
18
4 1
The Light and Truth of Slavery... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
19
4 1
The Experience of a Slave in S... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
20
4 1
The Black Bard of North Caroli... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
21
4 1
Narrative of the uncommon suff... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
22
3 1
Letter from a Fugitive Slave: ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
23
3 1
The American Slave: A Composit... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
24
2 0
The Refugee: Narratives of Fug... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History
25
2 0
American Slavery: A Composite ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Slave Narratives in American History