Homeless, Friendless, and Penniless

Homeless, Friendless, and Penniless

The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves Living in Indiana
Ronald L. Baker
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/1/2000
ISBN: 978-0-253-02857-0
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Homeless, Friendless, and Penniless
The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves Living in Indiana
Ronald L. Baker

Lives of former slaves in their own words, published for the first time.

Based on a collection of interviews conducted in the late 1930s, Homeless, Friendless, and Penniless is an invaluable record of the lives and thoughts of former slaves who moved to Indiana after the Civil War and made significant contributions to the evolving patchwork of Hoosier culture.

The Indiana slave narratives provide a glimpse of slavery as remembered by those who experienced it, preserving insiders’ views of a tragic chapter in American history. Though they were living in Indiana at the time of the interviews, these African Americans been enslaved in 11 different states from the Carolinas to Louisiana. The interviews deal with life and work on the plantation; the treatment of slaves; escaping from slavery; education, religion, and slave folklore; and recollections of the Civil War. Just as important, the interviews reveal how former slaves fared in Indiana after the Civil War and during the Depression. Some became ministers, a few became educators, and one became a physician; but many lived in poverty and survived on Christian faith and small government pensions.

Ronald L. Baker, Chairperson and Professor of English at Indiana State University, is author of many books, including Hoosier Folk Legends and From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History (both from Indiana University Press. He is co-author of Indiana Place Names with Marvin Carmony and editor of The Folklore Historian, the journal of the Folklore and History Section of the American Folklore Society.

Contents
Part One: A Folk History of Slavery
Background of the WPA Interviews
Presentation of Material
Living and Working on the Plantation
The Treatment of Slaves
Escaping from Slavery
Education
Religion
Folklore
Recollections of the Civil War
Living and Working after the Civil War
Value of the WPA Interviews
Acknowledgments
Part Two: The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves [134 entries]
Appendices, including Thematic Index

Author Bio

Ronald L. Baker, Chairperson and Professor of English at Indiana State University, is the author of Folklore in the Writings of Rowland E. Robinson, Hoosier Folk Legends, Jokelore: Humorous Folktales from Indiana, French Folklife in Old Vincennes, From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History, and numerous articles in folklore journals. He is co-author of Indiana Place Names and editor of The Folklore Historian, journal of the Folklore and History Section of the American Folklore Society, and a monograph, The Study of Place Names.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Part One: A Folk History of Slavery

Part Two: The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves
Appendices
Appendix I: Informants
Appendix II: Slave States of Informants
Appendix III: Indiana Towns of Residence of Informants
Appendix IV: Indiana Counties of Residence of Informants
Appendix V: Unaltered Versions of Previously Unpublished Indiana Interviews with Former Slaves
Appendix VI: Thematic Index
Living and Working on the Plantation
The Treatment of Slaves
Escaping from Slavery
Education
Religion
Folklore
Recollections of the Civil War
Living and Working after the Civil War
Works Consulted
Index