This chapter explores the complexities surrounding the representation of slavery and how white activists too often focused on black corporeal pain. It also explores Moses Roper’s interaction with Victorian print culture and how his radicalism hindered his success on the Victorian stage. The chapter analyses three newspaper articles from England, Ireland and Wales to explain how Roper’s bold denunciation of slavery invited criticism along white supremacist lines: for these white correspondents, together with some of their audiences, slavery was a brutal institution, but to trust Roper’s word alone was folly. Indeed, the paper mentions white author Harriet Martineau as a “better authority” because white abolitionists were deemed more truthful. The chapter explains Roper’s performative reactions to such press criticism and slander. It discusses some specific performative techniques Roper employed to challenge such ferocious criticism. By refusing to show Roper scars as “proof” of slavery’s violence, he points to his written and oral testimony as evidence instead.
|Title of host publication||Violence from Slavery to #BlackLivesMatter|
|Subtitle of host publication||African American History and Representation|
|Editors||Andrew Dix, Peter Templeton|
|Number of pages||17|
|ISBN (Print)||9780367359317, 9780367359096|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Nov 2019|