Autobiography of a Mississippi Slave


Read the firsthand acount of Louis Hughes, who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1832, and gained his freedom at the end of the Civil War. He tells a gripping story of life and servitude on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, and inside the family’s mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

Suitable for all ages. There are a few descriptions of whippings of slaves, and a couple of casual uses of the “n” word. It is not violent, just straightforward.

This book is part of an ongoing series of historic reprints intended to preserve authentic documents of American history.

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This Autobiography of a Mississippi Slave is the powerful true story of Louis Hughes, who was born into slavery in 1832, and gained his freedom at the end of the Civil War. He paints a descriptive picture of life on a Mississippi cotton plantation, providing readers with a look into the everyday workings of the farm, while inviting us to understand the sufferings of the slaves.

Hughes describes the role of slaves inside the house and in the fields, the treatment from his masters, how holidays were celebrated, how food was provided and clothing was made, life in Memphis just before the war, and so many other details of this sad time in our history. You will cheer him on in his multiple attempts at escape to the North, and celebrate as he gains his ultimate freedom on the 4th of July.

Every American story deserves to be read in full, and this firsthand account of slavery provides an honest look into the heart and mind of a man who was denied the basic human right of liberty for his first decades of life. There are plenty of opinions about the Civil War, why it was fought, and about Abraham Lincoln, but to Hughes and his fellow slaves, the war was about one thing: freedom.

Originally published in 1897 as Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom, this edition by Knowledge Keepers Bookstore contains the full and unchanged text as written by Hughes, with added photographs of life in slavery. It also includes the full text of the Emancipation Proclamation from President Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

Additional information

Weight 11.9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in


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