Andrew Jackson's Hermitage is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entrance at 4 p.m. ×

Mighty Rough Times, I Tell You edited by Andrea Sutcliffe

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 17 states.  In this volume, 36 former slaves living in Tennessee recount what it was like to live under the yoke. Tennessee was not a large slave-holding 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.


Andrea Sutcliffe is a writer, editor, and editorial project manager. She is the author of Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads and the editor of The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage. 


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