This book focuses on alternative types of slave narratives, especially courtroom testimony, and interrogates how such narratives were produced, the societies (both those that were majority slave societies and those in which slaves were a distinct minority of the population) in which testimony was permitted, and the meanings that can be attached to such narratives. The chapters in this book provide valuable information about the everyday lives—including the inner and spiritual lives—of enslaved African American and Native American individuals in the British and French Atlantic World, from Canada to the Caribbean. It explores slave testimony as a form of autobiographical narrative, and in ways that allow us to foreground enslaved persons’ lived experience as expressed in their own words.

chapter |14 pages


Slave Narratives in British and French America, 1700–1848

part Section One|64 pages

Voices in the Archives

chapter 1|23 pages

“Said Without Being Asked”

Slavery, Testimony, and Autobiography

chapter 2|18 pages

Fictions in the Archives

Jupiter alias Gamelle or the Tales of an Enslaved Peddler in the French New Orleans Court

chapter 3|21 pages

Slave Judiciary Testimonies in the French Caribbean

What to Do with Them

part Section Two|64 pages

Native Americans

chapter 4|17 pages

A “Spanish Indian Squaw” in New England

Indian Ann’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom

chapter 5|21 pages

In the Borderlands of Race and Freedom (and Genre)

Embedded Indian and African Slave Testimony in Eighteenth-Century New England

chapter 6|24 pages

“She Said Her Answers Contained the Truth”

Listening to and with Enslaved Witnesses in Eighteenth-Century New France

part Section Three|80 pages

African Americans

chapter 8|23 pages

Slave Voice and the Legal Archive

The Case of Freedom Suits before the Paris Admiralty Court

chapter 9|16 pages

“I Know I Have to Work”

The Moral Economy of Labor among Enslaved Women in Berbice, 1819–1834

chapter 10|19 pages

“An Anomalous Population”

Recaptive Narratives in Antigua and the British Colonial Archive, 1807–1828

chapter |13 pages


Slave Testimonies: The Long View