Is something mad cool that I came across, doing research into AAVE on Wikipedia for my HEL class:
Back from 1936-1938, the WPA had something called the Federal Writer's Project -- you might have heard of it -- which did a bunch of things; but among other things, they went around the South collecting narratives from ex-slaves -- seventy, ninety, even hundred year old black folk, about their memories of what life had been like in the South during slavery, and just after the Civil War.
These are all online now -- they scanned the actual documents in and they're available. You can go read the suckers, right here:
It's like the coolest thing ever.
It takes a bit of fiddling to get to the texts themselves -- I recommend clicking on "browse by narrator," and then picking a name and clicking on it, and then clicking "view page images," but you can go in through "browse by volume."
Some amazing stories in here. A thousands of them.
18 hours ago