Later North American accounts were by Americans captured by western tribes during 19th-century migrations.
For the Europeans and Americans, the division between captivity as slaves and as prisoners of war was not always clear.
Lucy Delaney wrote an account that included the freedom suit waged by her mother in Missouri for their freedom.
Eventually some 6,000 former slaves from North America and the Caribbean wrote accounts of their lives, with about 150 of these published as separate books or pamphlets.
They go further than just autobiographies, and are moreover "a source for reconstructing historical experience".
These accounts link elements of the slave's personal life and destiny with key historical events, such as the American Civil War and the Underground Railroad.
Given the problem of international contemporary slavery in the 20th and 21st centuries, additional slave narratives are being written and published.
It is an ubiquitous issue that still persists and remains largely undocumented.
These doubts have been criticized following better academic research of these narratives, since the late 20th century historians have more often validated the accounts of slaves about their own experiences.
Slave narratives by African slaves from North America were first published in England in the 18th century.