Author: Charles Crawley


“The story of Charles Crawley, ex slave” (1937)

Former slave Charles Crawley tells interviewer Susie Byrd of the Virginia Writers Project in 1937 about his family, runaway slaves, the religious practices of slaves, slave clothing, and food. 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.