Late in the eighteenth century, freed African American slaves began publishing the accounts of their time in bondage, either by penning their own stories (if the author had gained literacy) or narrating their stories to literate recorders. The earliest slave narratives were printed as pamphlets of less than two dozen pages. The first slave narrative published in book-length form to receive wide distribution was The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, which was published in London in 1789. Equiano’s narrative,...
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