Author: Susie Byrd

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Interview with Allen Wilson (July 16, 1937)

In this interview, taken by Susie R. C. Byrd on July 16, 1937 as part of the Virginia Writers Project, Allen Wilson, a former slave from Petersburg, recalls his memories of enslavement, including helping to found the Zion Baptist Church. 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.

 

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Interview with Rev. Ishrael Massie” (April 23, 1937)

Reverend Ishrael Massie, a man born into slavery, tells an interviewer from the Virginia Writers Project about his life. Rev. Massie describes witnessing the sale of enslaved people and violence from white enslavers, as well as some religious practices of the enslaved communities he was part of. The editors of Weevils in the Wheat inserted comments in this transcription. Their bracketed comments have been included below. This narrative is a compilation of various sources of interviews with Rev. Massie. 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.

 

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“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.

 

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