Welcome to the Key Stage 3 audio archive. Click on the audio of choice to listen.
This is an extract from an interview with a man who was born into slavery. Recorded in the Southern States of America between 1932 and 1975. The interview comes from several collections held in the American Library of Congress. The age of the recordings means that some of the voices are difficult to hear. The complete interviews can be heard on the American Library of Congress website.
Mary Prince was born in 1788 to a slave family in Bermuda. She was bought and sold a number of times. In 1828 she travelled to England with her owners and escaped. Mary became the first black woman to writer and publish an autobiography. This is an extract from her story read by
Spiritual: I told you people
It was forbidden for the enslaved Africans to practice their own faiths (which were mostly Animist and Muslim). They were forced to become Christians by Slave masters who used Christianity as a tool of control.
‘I told you people judgment coming’, is an example of a spiritual song from The Bahamas.
Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland, USA. He escaped to the North in 1838 and quickly involved himself in the anti-slavery movement. His autobiography, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave, was published in 1845. Fearful of re-enslavement, Douglass fled to Britain where he spent two years giving lectures on the anti-slavery movement. He raised enough money to buy his freedom and returned to America a free man.
Musical transcriptions of early slave songs are very rare. This work song illustrates the widespread African musical feature of call-and-response.