Information about our holdings

New Image Guide: The Bondwoman’s Narrative

The James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection is pleased to announce a new digital image guide: Hannah Crafts, The Bondwoman's Narrative (View all images)

"The Bondwoman’s Narrative," a fictionalized autobiography (c. 1850), is thought to be the first novel written by an African American woman, and the only known novel written by a fugitive slave.

Written in the gothic and sentimental style favored at the time, “The Bondwoman’s Narrative” is the story of a girl whose escape from a North Carolina plantation leads to a series of adventures and obstacles, including passing as a young white man and encounters with slave hunters tracking fugitive slaves. She eventually finds freedom and safety in the North. 

Gift of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Yale 1973).

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