African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology - Vol. 3

By Sterling Lecater Bland Jr. | Go to book overview

14

REVEREND NOAH DAVIS (1804–?)

A NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF REV. NOAH DAVIS

The Reverend Noah Davis’s Narrative reveals remarkably little about the physical and psychological particulars of his experiences as a slave. He declines to offer any kind of criticism or critique whatsoever. The Narrative does, however, provide a rare and insightful view of the black Baptist Church tradition in Baltimore, with which he became associated.

Davis describes a kind owner and what he saw as a kind of advantaged childhood: “Mr. Patten [his family’s owner] was always considered one of the best of masters, allowing his servants many privileges; but my father enjoyed more than many others.” On the basis of his parents’ involvement with the Baptist Church, Davis early developed a pious inclination: “Both he [Davis’s father] and my mother were pious members of a Baptist church, and from their godly example, I formed a determination, before I had reached my twelfth year, that if I was spared to become a man, I would try to be as good as my parents.” 1

Davis was hired out as an assistant to a carpenter and, by the age of twenty-seven, had relocated to Fredericksburg, Maryland; become affiliated with the Baptist Church of Fredericksburg; and was called to fill the office of deacon. Davis also began a family, which eventually grew to nine children, seven of whom where born into slavery. When, in 1845, Davis’s owner granted his request to purchase his freedom for $500 and gave him a pass to allow him safely to travel, Davis approached Baptist congregations in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and throughout the northeast in a successful effort to raise the funds. White Baptist supporters in Baltimore offered Davis the opportunity

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African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • 12 - JOHN THOMPSON 617
  • 13 - AUSTIN STEWARD 693
  • 14 - REVEREND NOAH DAVIS 855
  • 15 - WILLIAM AND ELLEN CRAFT 891
  • 16 - JAMES MARS 947
  • Editorial Notes to Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom 942
  • Bibliography 969
  • Index 981
  • About the Editor 1005
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