African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology - Vol. 1

By Sterling Lecater Bland Jr. | Go to book overview

2

MOSES ROPER
(1816?–?)

ANARRATIVE OF THE ADVENTURES AND ESCAPE OF MOSES ROPER

Moses Roper begins the introduction to his Narrative by writing“The determination of laying this little narrative before the public, did not arise from any desire to make myself conspicuous, but with the view of exposing the cruel system of slavery as will here be laid before my readers.” As Roper indicates, the Narrative results from his desire to educate readers to the brutal realities of the slave system. In order to complete that education, Roper emphasizes the physical circumstances of the slave system as forcefully as he emphasizes that the facts of his descriptions can be documented and are objective: “But the facts related here do not come before the reader unsubstantiated by collateral evidence, nor highly coloured to the disadvantage of cruel task-masters.” As Marion Wilson Starling observes, the ability to authenticate facts was not always the case with previous slave narratives, most notably Slavery in the United States: A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Charles Ball, a Black Man (1836) and Narrative of James Williams. An American slave; who was for several years a driver on a cotton plantation in Alabama (1836). 1

Moses Roper avoids many of the pitfalls of authentication by placing the focus of his narration on slavery. There are relatively few (if any) areas in which the reader is given access to Moses Roper’s emotional responses to his experiences as a slave. In moments when the reader might expect judgment and bitterness, Roper regularly turns to a series of traditional Christian responses: “But I desire to express my entire resignation to the will of God”; “But if the all-wise disposer of all things should see fit to keep them still in suffering and bondage, it is a mercy to know, that he orders all things well, that he is still the judge of all the earth, and that under such dispensations of

-47-

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African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - NAT TURNER 23
  • 2 - MOSES ROPER 47
  • 3 - LUNSFORD LANE 89
  • 4 - LEWIS CLARKE AND MILTON CLARKE *
  • 5 - WILLIAM HAYDEN *
  • 6 - WILLIAM WELLS BROWN *
  • 7 - HENRY WALTON BIBB *
  • 8 - HENRY "BOX" BROWN *
  • 9 - JOSIAH HENSON *
  • 10 - JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON *
  • 11 - WILLIAM GREEN *
  • 12 - JOHN THOMPSON *
  • 13 - AUSTIN STEWARD *
  • 14 - REVEREND NOAH DAVIS *
  • 15 - WILLIAM AND ELLEN CRAFT *
  • 16 - JAMES MARS *
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