Louis Hughes 1832 - ?
Louis Hughes was born in 1832 on a plantation outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of a white man and a slave. He remained a slave until he escaped behind Union lines near the end of the Civil War.
Hughes's narrative offers a slave's observations of the Civil War from behind Confederate lines. He briefly describes his family's struggle to earn a living and establish themselves in the North after the War. In his foreword to a recent edition of Thirty Years, scholar William L. Andrews discusses the value of this slave narrative: "By paying a Milwaukee printer to publish theAutobiography of Louis Hughes, the former Alabama slave turned Wisconsin businessman was free to write about his experience in the South and the North in his own way. What he wrote identifies Hughes in several ways as more representative of the African American rank-and-file, both before and after slavery, than Douglass or most of the other celebrated fugitive slaves whose antebellum narratives have dominated our understanding of what slavery was like."
- Thirty Years a Slave - 1832