History TOPIC ID 113
Thousands of slaves fled slavery, and many masters responded by publishing advertisements in newspapers. Many of these advertisements are available at:
In analyzing these advertisements, there is a great deal of information that students can extract.
- Were masters more likely to advertise for skilled or unskilled slaves?
- When did masters advertise for the return of slaves? Immediately or after a long delay?
- Were the descriptions of fugitive slaves vague or detailed and specific?
- How knowledgeable was the master about the fugitive?
- What do the advertisements tell us about the fugitives in terms of:
f. What do the advertisements tell us about the escape itself? What means did the runaway use to escape? Did the fugitive run away alone or in a group? Is there evidence that the fugitive receive assistance in making the escape? Did the fugitive travel a short or long distance? What goods did the fugitive take?
- marital status
- fluency in English
- motives for running away
- methods for escape
g. What kinds of rewards were offered? Why were some rewards larger than others?