Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

September 29, 1998

Ira Berlin To Discuss Remembering Slavery at Library of Congress on November 9

Preeminent historian of slavery Ira Berlin will be the featured speaker in a program at the Library on Monday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The program marks the publication of Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation, a book and audiotape set produced by the New Press, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Part of the Center for the Book's "Books & Beyond" series, the program is free and open to the public.

Mr. Berlin, founding director of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland, edited the book and tape set with Marc Favreau and Steven F. Miller.

Remembering Slavery makes available, for the first time in both printed word and recorded voice, the recollections of American ex-slaves as recorded more than a half-century ago. It draws on written and recorded interviews of hundreds of elderly people that were made by the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s and deposited in the Library of Congress. As Librarian of Congress James H. Billington states in his afterword to the book, the Library's ex-slave narrative collection, in both recorded and manuscript form, "stands as our first national exploration of the idea of oral history."

In addition to 12 digitally remastered recorded interviews, the Remembering Slavery audiotapes feature dramatic readings of unrecorded interviews by such major film and television stars as Louis Gossett Jr., James Earl Jones, Esther Rolle, Melba Moore, and Debbie Allen. The accompanying book includes the complete transcript of the live recordings and dramatic readings, extensive additional interviews with former slaves, period photographs including some of the interviewed former slaves, and an introduction by Ira Berlin.

A 416-page hardbound book presented in a boxed set with two 60-minute audio cassettes, Remembering Slavery sells for $49.95. It is available in the Library of Congress Sales Shop and in bookstores nationwide.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries. For information about its projects and publications, call (202) 707-5221 or visit its site on the World Wide Web at:

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PR 98-159
ISSN 0731-3527

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