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The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict is a memoir and manuscript by African American prisoner Austin Reed. Keeping a diary of his life in prison around the 1850's, it is thought that Reed's work is the only surviving diary of an African American while in prison in America. The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed is “the first known prison narrative by an African American writer,” editor Caleb Smith wrote in the Yale Alumni magazine. The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library purchased the manuscript, and Random House published it as a book this winter.
The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison, With the Mysteries and Miseries of the New York House of Reffuge [sic] and Auburn Prison Unmasked is the title of a c.1858 book-length manuscript by Austin Reed, an African American who served several terms as a prisoner in the Auburn State Prison in Auburn, New York. The manuscript relates his early life in Rochester, New York, his apprenticeship to a local farmer and arrest for arson, his stay at the New York House of Refuge, a juvenile detention facility in Manhattan, and his imprisonment at Auburn.
Now in the possession of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, the manuscript is reportedly the earliest prison memoir by an African American. An edition of the manuscript, prepared by Caleb Smith, was published in February 2016.
- ^Bosman, Julie (2013-12-15). 'Random House Acquires 1800s Prison Memoir'. The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
- ^Reed, Austin. (2016) The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict. New Haven: Yale University Press.