Presentation on theme: "All Odds Against Me: Adam Tavel Maryland State Archives Summer 2002 "Branding Slaves on the Coast of Africa Previous to Embarkation," by Nathaniel Currier,"— Presentation transcript:
All Odds Against Me: Adam Tavel Maryland State Archives Summer 2002 "Branding Slaves on the Coast of Africa Previous to Embarkation," by Nathaniel Currier, 1845. On the Trail of Runaway Slaves in 19 th century Maryland
Baltimore Sun Runaways: 1850-1859 Extracted runaway ads from 10 years worth of the daily Sun Each image was scanned and stored All vital information about each individual runaway was stored in a database Unearthed over 800 ads and over 1,000 individual runaways
Background on the Baltimore Sun First ran on May 17 th, 1837 Founded by Arunah Shepherdson Abell, a Rhode Island printer Was only four pages long Only cost one cent during the Antebellum Was one of the most prominent and widely- distributed papers in the Mid-Atlantic
Total Number of Runaways ~837 slaves ran from Maryland, while 102 came from Virginia and 38 fled from Washington, DC~
The Average Maryland Runaway 84% were male Average age was 23 Although many left in groups, over 72% fled alone
Opportunities for Flight Many slaves fled bondage around holidays, when supervision was less intense. This man George ran away on Christmas Day, 1855.
Time to Run Slaves also escaped at times of confusion. This man Ben Semmes fled after his owner died and he was sold at an estate sale.
Slave Destinations: Not Always North Most slaves who fled captivity sought the comfort of close friends or family members. Large metropolitan areas, such as Baltimore and Washington, DC, were ideal destinations due to their large populations of free blacks. Pennsylvania and other free states maintained a constant appeal.
How Are Runaway Ads Beneficial? Next to census data, runaway slave ads are the best primary source for mining demographic information about slaves. They allow historians a fresh approach to Mid- Atlantic slavery and shed light on Maryland’s true character during the Antebellum period.
Ok…But Why Should I Care? Runaway slave ads illustrate the importance of the slave community for sheer human survival. They are excellent tools for tracing the geneology of African-Americans. The current debate on slave reparations will require unbiased academic inquiry if we hope to reach a fair and timely resolution.
Acknowledgements Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, & Impact of Slavery’s History & Legacy in Maryland (www.mdslaverycomm.net) Dr. David Terry, on-site supervisor at the Maryland State Archives Dr. Rebecca McCoy, off-site supervisor at Lebanon Valley College Jamal Booker, Reference Archivist My fellow interns: Maria Day, Dwayne Samuel, Caleb McDaniel, Dana Sutton-Echols, and Jennifer Copeland