In Sunshine and Shadow of Slave Life, published in 1885 in East Saginaw, Michigan, William Ferguson Goldie tells the life of Isaac D. Williams based on notes taken from an interview. Williams was born free in Virginia, later sold into slavery, and eventually escaping to Canada. The following text contains racial epithets. This narrative, along with other slave narratives, offer a composite portrait of authors’ self-styled personal stories. The amanuensis’ interests, lived experiences, and editing choices, as well as their social relations and expectations shaped the relationship and conversation with the authors. Although the narratives aren’t unmediated autobiographies, they are no less authentic and are just as fruitful a source for reconstructing historical experience.