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Wes Brady, ex-slave

A 1937 photograph of Wes Brady, a former slave. Born c. 1850, Brady had been owned by a farmer in Marshall, Texas before emancipation. As a young boy he worked the fields, picking cotton. He recalled "The rows was a mile long and no matter how much grass was in them, if you leaves one sprig on your row they beats you nearly to death."

This portrait is part of the Slave Narrative Collection, a massive compilation of slave narratives – containing 10,000 typed pages representing more than 2,000 interviews – which was undertaken by the US Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration from 1936 to 1938.

Photograph: Federal Writers' Project; restoration: Chick Bowen
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