University Project Is Creating a Database of Runaway Slave Advertisements

freedomThe Freedom on the Move project, based at Cornell University in New York, aims to compile an extensive database of all runaway slave advertisements that appeared in newspapers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Leaders of the project estimate that there be as many as 100,000 of these advertisements.

The advertisements provide a unique look at history. The ads include detailed information about slaves’ names, appearance, mannerisms, styles of dress, states of origin, and possible destinations. Once the project is complete, researchers will be able to conduct statistical analyses of the data.

EdwardBaptistEdward E. Baptist, professor of history at Cornell and an organizer of the project, stated that “when students or others do the work it takes to get one of these ads recorded and analyzed, they become part of a bigger community dedicated to preserving the fugitive traces left on history by people who refused to let slavery contain them.”

Professor Baptist is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2002) and The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014).

Professor Mary N. Mitchell of the University of New Orleans and professor Joshua Rothman of the University of Alabama are collaborating on the project.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Wiley University Launches New Honors College for Fall 2024 Semester

The Heman Sweatt Honors College will provide students with access to a dedicated living community, specialized classes and research opportunities, faculty mentors, and financial aid for tuition, internships, and study abroad experiences.

Two Black Historians in Higher Education Receive Prestigious Dan David Prize

Keisha Blain of Brown University and Cécile Fromont of Harvard University have received 2024 Dan David Prizes for their outstanding achievements as academic historians.

City of Hope Partners with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine to Advance Diversity in Cancer Research

“By working together, City of Hope and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science aim to address health disparities and promote diversity in specialized medical fields, ultimately improving health care outcomes for the communities we serve," said David Carlisle, president of CDU.

Nine Black Leaders Selected for Administrative Positions in Higher Education

Here is this week’s roundup of African Americans who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

Featured Jobs