Slave Narrative Concordances
The slave narratives the WPA collected and the Library of Congress holds run to more than 2.5 million words by more than 2100 speakers from seventeen states in thirty-four parts. These concordances may be a step toward exploring them as a whole.
Each of the seventeen states now has a concordance of words for all its narratives, and all state concordances of words are brought into a single large concordance. There are concordances of capitalized words for each state, and a larger concordance of all such state entries. There are concordances of consecutively capitalized words for each state, and a larger concordance of all such state entries.
To keep concordances manageable, number entries refer to speakers not to pages, with a key to names starting each state’s file.
It is possible to search inside a state’s narratives for a plantation, a county, a name, occurring in several narratives. It is possible to search for a place, across all states for a person who had resettled after slavery, to find if other accounts of that earlier place exist. These concordances, whether of all words or of capitalized words, can represent Indexes for a state’s narratives in their entirety.
This presentation is bare bones, but concordances are concordances, and it takes an imagination to make them work. People will figure stuff out that we cannot imagine.
Concordances All Words
Concordances Capitalized Words
Concordances Consecutively Capitalized Words