James Roberts Photo

James Roberts

Born: 1753

Birthplace: Maryland

Nationality: United States

James Roberts

Date of Birth : 1753
Birth Place : Maryland

James Roberts was an American slave. Roberts was born on the Eastern shore of Maryland, during a time of slavery. He was enslaved by Francis De Shields, a colonel in Washington's army. Roberts had fought beside De Shields in the war, and once the seven-year war with Britain ended, worked for Washington in Philadelphia. Roberts went with De Shields as his servant. When De Shields died, Roberts expected to be set free, but instead was sold to William Ward. Roberts was torn away from his family and then sold at an auction in New Orleans to Calvin Smith. "It is not for me to foretell the end of oppression in this country, but one thing is certain, virtue, sobriety, temperance, economy, education and religion, will fit you for any emergency whatever, and are the best qualifications for free men. That their attainment may be your constant pursuit and most earnest endeavr [sic], is the prayer of one now ready to depart." While he was enslaved by Calvin Smith he experienced traumatic events on the plantation. His cousin was whipped and put in the stocks only to die a week into being on that very homestead.

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