North Carolina Slave Narratives

The Lives of Moses Roper, Lunsford Lane, Moses Grandy, and Thomas H. Jones

Edited by William L. Andrews

296 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., 1 map, notes, bibl.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5658-1
    Published: August 2005
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-7675-6
    Published: May 2006

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

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The autobiographies of former slaves contributed powerfully to the abolitionist movement in the United States, fanning national--even international--indignation against the evils of slavery. The four texts gathered here are all from North Carolina slaves and are among the most memorable and influential slave narratives published in the nineteenth century. The writings of Moses Roper (1838), Lunsford Lane (1842), Moses Grandy (1843), and the Reverend Thomas H. Jones (1854) provide a moving testament to the struggles of enslaved people to affirm their human dignity and ultimately seize their liberty.

Introductions to each narrative provide biographical and historical information as well as explanatory notes. Andrews's general introduction to the collection reveals that these narratives not only helped energize the abolitionist movement but also laid the groundwork for an African American literary tradition that inspired such novelists as Toni Morrison and Charles Johnson.

About the Author

General editor William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author or editor of more than thirty books, including The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt and To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Coeditors David A. Davis, Tampathia Evans, Ian Frederick Finseth, and Andrea N. Williams have earned graduate degrees in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about William L. Andrews, visit the Author Page.


“For those who want to get some idea of what slavery in the South was like before the Civil War, this is the book. . . . Insights are everything . . . and this book abounds in them. . . . A compelling and hugely informative view of a time and an ethos that we can never forget.”--Kliatt

"From [the four narratives], students of North Carolina history can discover much about the diversity of slaves' experiences in the state, especially as related to literacy, manhood, masters, resistance, sympathizers, family, work, and religion."--Journal of Southern History

"A fascinating collection of narratives."--Forecast

"For those who want to get some idea of what slavery in the South was like before the Civil War, this is the book. . . . a compelling and hugely informative view of a time and an ethos that we can never forget."--Kliatt

"William Andrews, through his masterful study To Tell a Free Story and as editor of several editions of the slave narratives, has established himself as our leading commentator on the literary worlds that the African American slaves made. Like his previous editions, North Carolina Slave Narratives is a major contribution to our understanding of the nature and function of this most curious genre of literature. Carefully and painstakingly edited, North Carolina Slave Narratives is essential reading for all scholars and students of African American literature and history in the nineteenth century."--Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University

"Maritime slavery and plantation life, the surprising possibilities of urban bondage and the excruciating realities of sale and exile, all come through in these carefully introduced and well-chosen narratives. These four North Carolina autobiographers wonderfully enrich and enlarge the story of bondsmen and their struggles in America, casting light in new and hidden domains of the slave's experience."--Sydney Nathans, Duke University