In "The Slave Dancer," at the time when Jessie is playing his fife for the slaves on-board The Moonlight, he sees a young black boy about his age staring at him. Later this boy is the one who finds his fife after Stoddard has thrown the flute into the slave hold and told Jessie to go find it. The young black boy finds the fife (flute) and hands it across to Jessie so he won't have to walk across the slaves to look for it. Toward the end of the novel, Jessie and this same young black boy get trapped in the slave hold together during the squall. They swim to shore together and become rescued by the older run-away slave named Daniel. It is during this period of time with Daniel that we learn this young black boy's name is RAS. He and Jessie eventually go their separate ways, but Jessie spends the rest of his life keeping one eye open wishing to once more see this young boy he went through so much with when he was 13.
i dont remember what ras was in the book but it was a great book!