Black and white illustration of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

by Frederick Douglass
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What are five reasons why slave narratives are important?

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I think that you can get more than five, and the previous thoughts have reflected this.  Initially, the presence of slave narratives help to expand our own moral and spiritual imagination in terms of being able to identify and understand the experiences of others.  Few can attest to what exactly...

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I think that you can get more than five, and the previous thoughts have reflected this.  Initially, the presence of slave narratives help to expand our own moral and spiritual imagination in terms of being able to identify and understand the experiences of others.  Few can attest to what exactly slavery was like, but reading the narratives of Douglass or Equiano, one has a stronger understanding of what it means to be a slave.  This would lead to another reason underscoring their importance, in that individuals can better understand the horrors of slavery through the understanding and absorption of first hand experience.

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It is very important to keep slave narratives alive for many reasons. First, it is important to keep a record of our history no matter how horrible things are. Second, by remembering the past, we might have the wisdom not to make the same mistakes in the future. The wise person will learn from the past. Third, slave narratives are important in that these narratives offer the oppressed the ability to speak for themselves. This is important, as Spivak, the post-colonialist theorist has repeatedly stated. Finally, these narratives help us to understand where we are today and gives us insights into what we must do as we look into the future.

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The first reason I can think of is that it is important to understand what slavery was like.  Without first person accounts, there would be a big gap in our understanding of slavery.  (Of course, we still have a big gap because only a very few ex-slaves ever wrote narratives.)

The second thing is related to that.  It is important to have these because they allow the slaves to have a voice of their own.  These were people who had been kept as powerless as possible.  It is very important for them to have a voice and to be heard and acknowledged as people.

I can't actually think of anymore.  Maybe others can help...

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