Header image  
line decor
line decor


I Belong to South Carolina
South Carolina Slave Narratives

Edited by Susanna Ashton

Rare firsthand accounts of slavery from across the Palmetto State collected together for the first time

Out of the hundreds of published slave narratives,only a handful exist specific to South Carolina, and most of these are not readily available to modern readers. Edited by Susanna Ashton, this collection restores to print seven slave narratives documenting the lived realities of slavery as it existed across the Palmetto State's upcountry, midlands, and lowcountry, from plantation culture to urban servitude. First published between the late eighteenth century and the dawn of the twentieth, these richly detailed firsthand accounts present a representative cross section of slave experiences, from religious awakenings and artisan apprenticeships to sexual exploitations and harrowing escapes. In their distinctive individual voices, narrators celebrate and mourn the lives of fellow slaves, contemplate the meaning of freedom, and share insights into the social patterns and cultural controls exercised during a turbulent period in American history.

Each narrative is preceded by an introduction to place its content and publication history in historical context. The volume also features an afterword surveying other significant slave narratives and related historical documents on South Carolina. I Belong to South Carolina reinserts a chorus of powerful voices of the dispossessed into South Carolina's public history, reminding us of the cruelties of the past and the need for vigilant guardianship of liberty in the present and future.

Author Susanna AshtonSusanna Ashton is an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of English at
Clemson University. She is the author of Collaborators in Literary America, 1870–1920 and
coeditor of These "Colored" United States: African American Essays from the 1920s.



"Capturing with fidelity the texture of life for enslaved South Carolinians has challenged even the most thoughtful students and scholars of slavery. That challenge has now been lessened with the publication of I Belong to South Carolina. It is at once a well edited collection of rare and under-studied slave narratives, a powerful retelling of the slave experience in the Palmetto state, and, perhaps most conspicuously, a window into the complex cultural and social topography of one of America's most robust slave societies."—Mark M. Smith, editor of Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt



book jacket


6 x 9
344 pages
ISBN 978-1-57003-901-0
paperback, $24.95s

ISBN 978-1-61117-167-9
ebook, $18.99t
Download an excerpt

Winner, 2010 Choice
Outstanding Academic Title

Memoirs of the Life of Boston
King, a Black Preacher

"Clarinda: A Pious Woman of
South Carolina" (1875)

"Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave" (1838)

The Experience of a Slave in
South Carolina,
by John Andrew Jackson (1862)

My Life in the South, by
Jacob Stroyer (1885)

Life on the Old Plantation in
Ante-Bellum Days, or a Story
Based on Facts by The Reverend I. E. Lowery

Before the War and after the
Union: An Autobiography,
Sam Aleckson (1929)

    Copyright ©2018 The University of South Carolina Press