Author: Hermond Norwood


“An interview with Fountain Hughes” (1949)

In this transcript of a 1949 recording, Fountain Hughes, a man born into slavery, tells Hermond Norwood from the Library of Congress about his life under slavery. The recording is among the few surviving sound recordings of formerly enslaved people. 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.