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The Village Broadside

The Blog of Historic Deerfield


Picturing Slavery: Clothing, Appearance, and New England Advertisements for Run-Away Enslaved Men During the 18th Century

Enslavers regularly placed “Run Away” advertisements in 18th-century American newspapers when their human “property” attempted to escape a life of perpetual bondage. Such ads are a powerful tool for present-day researchers documenting resistance to slavery. They also offer glimpses of individual enslaved people as they appeared to white contemporaries. Despite their inherent bias, run-away ads are thus an important source that can help us to better understand the clothing and appearance of historically under-represented people living in 18th-century New England.