Books: Non-Fiction

Flight from the Devil: Six Slave Narratives

Book — Non-fiction. Compiled and with an introduction by William Loren Katz. 1996. 434 pages.
Six narratives by people who were enslaved that helped expose the horrors of slavery and advance the fight for abolition.

Time Periods: 19th Century
Themes: African American, Slavery and Resistance

Flight from the Devil: Six Slave Narratives (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryDuring the early 19th century some African American men and women who broke their chains also gave the abolitionist movement its strongest verbal weapons in the form of detailed autobiographies that exposed the slave system. Perceptive, dramatic, and often starkly horrifying, these narratives dared to challenge their author’s former owners who sang the praises of human bondage. Having examined the slave narratives, recent scholars have judged them historically accurate and reliable, and the most significant form of early African American literature.

The six narratives in this volume are: Linda Brent, who was held in sexual bondage until she fled to freedom and wrote her story; William Wells Brown, a runaway who became the first African American novelist and playwright; James Pennington who escaped to become a minister and civil rights activist in Brooklyn; Lunsford Lane, an inventor/entrepreneur who purchased his family’s freedom; Jacob Stroyer, who was liberated during the war and became a minister in Salem, Massachusetts; and Moses Grandy, who escaped to England and wrote his book. [Publisher’s description.]


William Loren Katz is the author of 33 books and editor of 212 others on people of color, and has been a researcher of African American History since 1945. He is the author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, The Lincoln Brigade: A Picture History, and various articles at the Zinn Education Project.

ISBN: 9780865434141 | Africa World Press