Novel by an American Slave

Joe Nickell

in Real or Fake

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125343
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135229 | DOI:
Novel by an American Slave

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This chapter details the process of examining the authenticity of a manuscript, purchased at an auction, with the title page, “The Bondwoman's Narrative / By Hannah Crafts / A Fugitive Slave / Recently Escaped from North Carolina.” The writing materials indicated that the manuscript was written from 1853-1861. The author of the manuscript, Hannah Crafts, was found to be a talented female writer who had read much imaginative literature and probably produced other literary works before The Bondwoman's Narrative. She was relatively young when she created the novel, which was written between 1855 when Wheeler's slave Jane Johnson escaped, and 1861, the advent of secession and the Civil War. Her identity as African American slave rings true, however, this might be because the account rings imaginatively true. Whatever her race, it appears that she struggled to become educated.

Keywords: African American slave; The Bondwoman's Narrative; Hannah Crafts; Jane Johnson; Wheeler; Civil War

Chapter.  3863 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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