Author: Marriah Hines


“Interview of Mrs. Marriah Hines” (1937)

Marriah Hines, a former slave, tells interviewer David Hoggard of the Virginia Writers Project in 1937 about life on the Virginia plantation of James Pressman. She contrasts Pressman’s relatively kind treatment of his slaves with the way slaves on neighboring plantations were treated by their masters. 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.