In 1937, an African-American woman, Susie Rosa Catherine Byrd (1899-1960), a teacher by profession, worked as a Federal Writer for the Petersburg District of the Negro Federal Writers' Project (WPA) of Virginia. The WPA was a branch of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal relief program of the federal government during the Depression. Byrd's interviews with ex-slaves in her own neighborhood provided information about the institution of slavery from the perspective of enslaved individuals. Her field techniques have been compared to those of modern-day ethnography. Excerpts of her interviews are found in "The Negro in Virginia" (compiled by WPA writers, 1940) and "Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-Slaves" (Charles and Nan Perdue, 1976). Byrd also ran a nursery school and taught WPA classes at night.
No Physical Description Available
Geographical and Contact Information
450 Harrison Street