Thanks to a recent blog post on the Iron County Historical Society’s webpage, I’ve been reading the Federal Writers’ Project’s compilation of Missouri slave narratives, available through the Library of Congress, for the last couple of days. I’ve referred to this collection before, but reading them again is always supremely worthwhile.
With all the current hullaballoo going on in the Missouri Legislature about what can and can’t be taught in our schools, I’d like to recommend that all legislators be required to read these narratives, start to finish, and then write an analytical summary about what they teach us about Missouri’s history. No cheating by making your staff do it! Frankly, I think they should be required reading in the high schools.
The Historical Society also helpfully provided a link to an excellent article on understanding and interpreting the slave narratives, written by a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Missouri-Columbia named Ashley Simpson. It’s well worth the time, too.
A more deserving set of Missouri heroes would be hard to find.