Update: This is a timely post, as my student, Kimberley Davis, reminded me with this letter purportedly written by an emancipated slave to his former owner.
I am currently looking at post-Civil War interviews and memoirs of African American men and women who were enslaved at The Hermitage. The interviews are rendered in the stereotypical black dialect of the era, and they are (mostly) cloyingly nostalgic and sentimental about life under Andrew Jackson.
To get a handle on why these African American rememberances looked fondly at slavery, I’ve looked at the usual suspects on memory studies and African American/southern stereotypes (David Blight, Fitz Brundage, Catherine Clinton, Micki McElya, and Tara McPherson) and have come up empty on this particular topic. I know that the rememberances were filtered through white interviewers, but I have failed even to find scholarship on their role.
So, dear readers, I need some help. Jog my memory with the article(s) or book(s) that should be staring me in the face. Should I look at scholarship on the WPA narratives to get a grasp on this topic, or is there research specifically on the 1865-1900 era?