Might Rough Times, I Tell You:
In 1929, the Social Sciences Department at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, began recording the oral histories of former slaves. During the mid-1930s, the Federal Writers’ Project undertook a similar effort, ultimately compiling more than two thousand interviews and ten thousand pages of material in seventeen states.
In this volume, thirty-six former slaves living in Tennessee recount what it was like to live under the yoke. Tennessee was not a large slaveholding state compared with others in the South. On the other hand, it was a leader in the abolition movement prior to 1830 and a powder keg of mixed Union and Confederate sympathies at the time of the Civil War. The voices in this volume thus recall the extreme conditions of slavery in the border country.