How Archives Shape our Collective Memory: A Re-examination of the Library of Congress’ American Memory Collection of The 1936-1938 Federal Writers Project’s Collection of Former Slave Narratives and Concomitant Questions of African American Cultural Knowledge Production
The massive compilation of oral histories of formerly enslaved African Americans by the Federal Writers Project, was an ambitious project. This case study raises questions surrounding the Collection’s provenance within its socio-political framework and its enduring legacy.
Additionally, this examination pursues areas of cultural knowledge production cited within the narratives, that merit further study. A discussion surrounding the conscious or unconscious, outcome of archival practice, and its ability to shape our historical record is the goal of this investigation.