Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Janet Neary

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Allred

Academic Program Adviser

Amy Robbins


While motherhood in slave narratives is widely discussed, black fatherhood is often overlooked. As is the case for enslaved mothers, fatherhood for enslaved men entailed its own unique challenges and needs. Enslaved men are both hyper-masculinized and put into positions of traditionally “feminine” subservience, where their ability to carry out their roles of provider and protector are hampered. For black fathers in slave narratives, fatherhood is a choice that is independent of social obligation or legal bonds, whereas white fathers within these texts shirk their emotional and social responsibilities to their families and are fathers in name and not much else. To embody the role of father is to combat the attempted erasure of the humanity of themselves and their families.



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