Creative Inquiry

I Belong to South Carolina

I Belong to South CarolinaProfessor Susanna Ashton’s 2007-2008 Creative Inquiry project sought to collect and publish slave narratives of South Carolina. Now their hard work is being rewarded. I Belong to South Carolina: South Carolina Slave Narratives is being published by the University of South Carolina Press.

Ashton edited the book and provides the introduction. Her team of researchers included undergraduate students Robyn E. Adams,  Maximilien Blanton, Laura V. Bridges, E. Langston Culler, Deanna L. Panetta and Kelly E. Riddle and graduate student Cooper Leigh Hill.

I Belong to South Carolina restores to print seven slave narratives documenting the lived realities of slavery as it existed across the Palmetto State’s Upcountry, Midlands and Lowcountry, from planta­tion culture to urban servitude.

First published between the late eighteenth century and the dawn of the twentieth, these richly detailed firsthand accounts present a rep­resentative cross section of slave experiences, from religious awakenings and artisan apprenticeships to sexual exploitations and harrowing escapes. In their distinctive indi­vidual voices, narrators celebrate and mourn the lives of fellow slaves, contemplate the meaning of freedom, and share insights into the social patterns and cultural controls exercised during a turbulent period in American history.

Each narrative is preceded by an introduction to place its content and publication history in historical context. The volume also features an afterword surveying other significant slave narratives and related historical documents on South Carolina. I Belong to South Carolina reinserts a chorus of powerful voices of the dispossessed into South Carolina’s public history, reminding us of the cruelties of the past and the need for vigilant guardianship of liberty in the present and future.

Featuring narratives from

Memoirs of the Life of Boston King, a Black Preacher (1798)
“Clarinda: A Pious Woman of South Carolina” (1875)
“Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave” (1838)
The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina, by John Andrew Jackson (1862)
My Life in the South, by Jacob Stroyer (1885)
Life on the Old Plantation in Ante-Bellum Days, or a Story Based on Facts by The Reverend I. E. Lowery (1911)
Before the War and after the Union: An Autobiography, by Sam Aleckson (1929)

Learn more

To order this book, visit the University of South Carolina Press website.