Great Slave Naratives Author:Arna Bontemps During much of the 19th century, slave narratives were best sellers for American publishers. Arna Bontemps, the distinguished novalist and critic, in this book presents and introduces three outstanding examples of the genre: The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself; The Fugitive Blacksmith, or Events in the... more » History of James W.C. Pennington, Pastor of a Presbyterian Church, New York, formerly a Slave in the State of Maryland, United States; and Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, or the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery. Not only an exciting and too little know park of American literature and history, this genre has played an important role in the development of such distinguished modern authors as Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison.
The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano was the first of the slave narrative to gain wide attention, and it particularly interesting because of the author's vivid recall of his African background. The author of the Pennington narrative was the first Negro to write a history of his people in America. The Craft narrative, an exciting story of a courageous slave couple's escape to the North, and then to England, is perhaps the last high point in the development of the slave narrative genre.« less