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Genevieve Johnson-Smith

Genevieve Johnson-Smith

Research project title

Native Ground. Moses Roper, Fugitive Abolitionist; Emancipatory Activism, Anti-slavery Radicalism and Print Culture in Wales


Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney and Prof Bruce Baker

Contact details


A brief outline of my research project

Moses Roper was the first African American to publish his slave narrative in the UK, yet his life and works remain significantly understudied. A former slave who had attempted escape many times before succeeding, he toured the UK selling his narrative and providing honest and graphic descriptions of the treatment slaves in the US received. He is therefore an incredibly important figure in abolitionism and black history in the UK. Though several publications mention him, from a couple of sentences to a book chapter, he has remained a historical footnote in the stories of other fugitive abolitionists who travelled here, such as Frederick Douglass. This project will centralise Roper’s work and explore extensively his life story, impact upon print culture and travels, in particular his time in Wales and his connection to the Welsh people and language. This will fill an important gap in the history of black fugitive writing in the UK and will address the significance of Roper its vanguard.

Research activities

My academic background

  • MA History, Newcastle University
  • BA History, Newcastle University