AUSTIN, Texas—An exhibit featuring a collection of slave narratives documenting memories of the last generation of African Americans born into bondage will be on display Feb. 3 at The University of Texas at Austin during a Black History Month program that includes an HBO documentary about slavery.
The collection of manuscripts and photographs of slave narratives in the university’s Center for American History was compiled in the 1930s in the midst of the Great Depression when the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project hired writers to travel the country, documenting the memories of the last generation of African Americans born into bondage.
The Center for American History, the university’s Multicultural Information Center and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. also are sponsoring a special full-length screening of the HBO documentary film “Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives” on Feb. 3 in the LBJ Auditorium, 2313 Red River. The program begins at 6:45 p.m. with music by the university’s Innervisions Gospel Choir, followed by the 75-minute film.
In addition to the featured film, the program will include a commentary by Dr. George C. Wright, noted historian and executive vice president for academic affairsand provost at The University of Texas at Arlington. Wright, a former directorof African American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, will be introducedby Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin.
Unchained Memories, which airs on HBO Feb. 10 at 7:p.m., is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and features readings by Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Ossie Davis, RubyDee, Robert Guillaume, Samuel L. Jackson, Courtney B. Vance, Vanessa L. Williams,Oprah Winfrey, Alfre Woodard and others.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, more than four million slaves were set free. By the late 1930s, 100,000 former slaves were still alive. “Unchained Memories:Readings from the Slave Narratives,” was created from the Works ProgressAdministration interviews with many of those former slaves. The documentary wasproduced in association with the Library of Congress and will be aired duringBlack History Month on HBO.
Unchained Memories is part of HBO’s larger Shared History Project being launched in collaboration with this film release. In this program, museums, colleges, and libraries may use the program and materials to engage the public in a more active discourse about history while offering access to primary documents such as the slave narratives.
For more information about the HBO film, contact Lauren Berger at 212-426-7006.