Documenting the American South Logo
Collections >> North American Slave Narratives, First-Person Narratives >> Document Menu >> Summary

Annie L. Burton, b. 1858?
Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days
Boston: Ross Publishing Company, 1909.


Annie Burton was born into slavery ca. 1858 on a plantation outside of Clayton, Alabama and raised by her mistress after her mother ran away. She grew up during the Civil War and remembers fondly her early days on the plantation. After Emancipation, Burton's mother returned for her children. Annie was hired as a nanny by Mrs. E. M. Williams, who taught her how to read and write. After her mother died, Annie took responsibility for her three younger siblings and moved to Boston in 1879. She later moved to Georgia and then Jacksonville, Florida, where she became a restaurateur before returning to Boston. In 1888, she married, and together she and her husband ran a boarding house. She began taking evening classes at the Franklin Evening School, and the headmaster, Frank Guild, suggested that each of the students write their life story. It was this suggestion that gave Burton the impetus to pen her autobiography.

Burton's Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days (1909) is divided into four parts. In the first section, entitled "Recollections of a Happy Life," Burton describes her childhood on the plantation in Alabama and her marriage to Samuel H. Burton. In the second section, "Reminiscences," Burton reflects on Emancipation and the way it changed her life. The third section, "Vision" gives a detailed account of Burton's religious conversion. Burton also includes an essay she wrote at Franklin on Abraham Lincoln, some shorter compositions she wrote, an essay on the "race question," several poems, and several hymns.

Work Consulted: Ireland, Norma Olin, Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Metchuen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

Harris Henderson

Document menu