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From Slave Narrative to Prison Narrative: The Criminal Subjects of Buried Alive (1892)
Start Date: 2/20/2014Start Time: 4:30 PM
End Date: 2/20/2014End Time: 5:30 PM

Event Description:
While the long history of African American autobiography is partly rooted in the criminal confessions of black convicts of the eighteenth century, the criminal subject would remain relatively silent within the black autobiographical tradition until the mid-twentieth century. Thomas Gaines’s Buried Alive (Behind Prison Walls) for a Quarter of a Century: Life of William Walker (1892), the collaborative narrative of two black convicts in Michigan, represents a rare exception that describes William Walker’s experiences as both a Southern slave and a Northern inmate, indicting the post-emancipation regime of convict labor as a system worse than slavery. In this talk, I excavate this neglected text to suggest that it represents an historical moment of political possibility within the tradition of black autobiography that would soon be overshadowed by emergent discourses of racial uplift.
Location Information:
*Swarthmore College - Kohlberg
Room: Kohlberg, Scheuer Room
Contact Information:
Name: P Reilly
Phone: x 3730
Email: preilly1@swartmore.edu
Open To
The Public

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