Resource: Runaway Slave Advertisement Databases

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Below is a list of existing datasets, as well as those still in development, that are suitable for research and teaching on black resistance. These sources can be used to ask other questions related to social and human capital, and the ways in which enslaved people made use of their immediate resources to facilitate their escape. For example, who were most ‘successful’ at remaining free for longer periods of time, women or men? And why? What role did literacy play in contributing to finding freedom? How important was it for a runaway to have a social network of actors in place to help coordinate the escape? These are questions researchers and students may be interested in pursusing through qualitative and quantitative analysis. The ads, as well as historical fictions of runaways, help broaden public understanding of slavery by highlighting new faces, names, locations, and ways of embodying the spirit of freedom and liberation that pushed the modern era toward democracy.

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