Author: Albert Jones


“Civil War veteran of Portsmouth, Virginia” (1937)

Albert Jones, a man born into slavery, tells an interviewer from the Virginia Writers Project about his life. A veteran of the American Civil War (1861–1865), some of his major memories include his time fighting for the Union in “Company K.” The interview begins with a narrative description of Jones and his home written by the Virginia Writers Project interviewer Thelma Dunston. This interview, along with other Virginia Writers Project interviews, offer a composite portrait of interviewees’ self-styled personal stories. Interviewers’ interests, lived experiences, and editing choices, as well as their social relations and expectations shaped their relationship and conversation with the interviewees. Although the interviews aren’t unmediated autobiographies, they are no less authentic and are just as fruitful a source for reconstructing historical experience.