Brazilian Slave Narratives Project

Dr. Robert Krueger, Professor Emeritus, and Alida Bakuzis, former Instructor, at the University of Northern Iowa are curators of the Brazilian Slave Narratives & Texts Project. The purpose of the project is to recover and share texts written & spoken by Brazilian slaves. The archive sheds light on the intimacies and struggles of ordinary slaves and ex-slaves, not only famous and notorious historical figures. Civil and criminal records, letters and petitions reveal the personal lives of slaves involved in human events in work, play and community.

Brochure (pdf)

Background Information
In the early 1980s, inspired by the thousands of U.S. “slave narratives,” following the lead of excellent generations of Brazilian historians, and dedicated to the struggle against racism, the curators began locating and assembling copies and facsimiles of texts written and spoken by Brazilian slaves. What the slaves had to say is of great importance to understand the “peculiar institution” in the country that enslaved more Africans and delayed abolition until very late and its consequences today.

While Brazil has very few “slave narratives” sui generis, the curators broadened the search definition to “slave texts.” The current collection, depending greatly on the separate discoveries of slave texts by prodigious historians, and our locating original texts in various archives in Brazil, Europe, Africa and the Americas, comprises many genres ranging from personal letters and tracts, to trial testimony of many quilombolas and rebels, to testaments, and to various types of struggle expression, which now number in the hundreds.

The curators are inviting Brazilian collaborators to join in the leadership of the publication of the “Brazilian slave narratives and texts.” Since 1980s, we have published numerous articles, chapters and presentations on the topics emerging from the archives—about such texts written and spoken by slaves and ex-slaves including the odyssey of a West African, the heroic self-defense of the Baroque mystic “Flor do Rio” before the Holy Inquisition, the rare human rights document written by rebellious slaves, the revolutionary writings and speeches by an ex-slave abolitionist, and many transcripts revealing the daily struggles of slaves seeking justice and freedom.

Contact Information
Robert Krueger (email:
Alida Bakuzis (email:
Phone: (319) 277-3619
Cedar Falls, IA

Digital Scholarship Unit
The Digital Scholarship Unit at the University of Northern Iowa has been instrumental in helping Professor Robert Krueger extend his collaboration network to researchers in Canada, Brazil, Portugal, and a number of countries in Africa. During the last several years, Dr. Robert Krueger traveled to Brazil where he expanded his research activities. He wrote a play related to Brazilian slave narratives which was performed in Brazil. Dr. Krueger recently received a Fulbright Fellowship which allowed him to spend several months in Brazil in 2023 and 2024. He taught seminars related to both U.S. and Brazilian slave narratives and is currently working on a book.

Note: Banner image "Conspiracao Escrava - Minas Gerais, 1756 | Impressões Rebeldes | para quem tem o que dizer sobre revoltas, as shown on, by the História UFF."