Author: Sally Ashton


“Interview with Sally Ashton” (Date Unknown)

Sally Ashton, a woman born into slavery, tells an interviewer from the Virginia Writers Project her memory of the parties she would attend with other enslaved people, and of the fiddler Louis Cane who provided the music for them to dance to. The bracketed aside that begins the narrative is written by Virginia Writers Project interviewer Susie Byrd. 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.