Strategies for Survival
Strategies for Survival conveys the experience of bondage throughthe words of former slaves themselves. The interviews-conducted in Virginia in 1937 by WPAinterviewers-are considered among the most valuable of the WPA interviews because in Virginiathe interviewers were almost all African Americans, thus the interviewees almost certainly spokemore frankly than they would otherwise have done. Dusinberre uses the interviews to assess thestrategies by which slaves sought to survive, despite the severe constrictions bondage imposed upontheir lives. Religion and escape were common means of coping with the indignity of familydisruption, contempt, and the harsh realities of slavery. However, while Dusinberre recognizes thecreativity and variety of slaves' responses to oppression, he acknowledges the dispiriting realitiesof the limits of slave resistance and agency.
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