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Long Past SlaveryRepresenting Race in the Federal Writers' Project$
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Catherine A. Stewart

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626260

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626260.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Follow Me through Florida

Follow Me through Florida

Florida’s Negro Writers’ Unit, the Ex-Slave Project, and The Florida Negro

(p.175) Chapter Seven Follow Me through Florida
Long Past Slavery

Catherine A. Stewart

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the methods African American employees on the Florida Project adopted in order to establish their authority within the Federal Writers’ Project. Florida was one of the earliest states to submit ex-slave narratives to the federal office, and under the direction of Carita Doggett Corse created a separate Negro Writers’ Unit to work on projects related to black history and culture. The chapter discusses the employees, where they worked, and how they used the life stories of ex-slave informants to construct narratives that demonstrated African Americans’ readiness for full citizenship. Many incorporated truth-telling rhetorical conventions favored by authors of antebellum slave narratives to inscribe the ex-slave narratives with testimonials of objectivity. The majority of these narratives, along with the manuscript The Florida Negro, reflect the black bourgeoisie’s emphasis on respectability and racial uplift, portraying ex-slave informants as morally upright and economically mobile.

Keywords:   Federal Writers’ Project, Florida, Negro Writers’ Unit, ex-slaves, slave narratives, black history, Zora Neale Hurston, The Florida Negro, Carita Doggett Corse, racial uplift

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