Even as a boring researcher who spends days on end in dusty old archives, every now and again something shocks you. I came across this ad not long into my research regarding runaway slaves in Eastern North Carolina. [The full size image can be found below the page break].

Runaway Slave Ad
Why is an old advertisement so shocking and interesting? The above advertisement’s five simple (although surprisingly verbose) paragraphs are short hand for a much larger and even more interesting tale. Their story includes enslavement, betrayal, yearning for freedom, fatherhood, rebellion, courage, anger, and half a dozen other compelling emotional angles that should perk the ears and tug at the heart.

Beyond that, the characters are laid out in a detailed manner (considering the space allowed for an advertisement), but in such a way that you are left desiring to know more about them.

Read the rest of this entry »

During the course of researching my thesis (2004-2006) I collected thousands of pages of documents- copies of originals held in the North Carolina State Archives collection.  My collection of copied documents includes newspaper articles, petitions, court records, letters, etc.  Some of these documents had not been seen for quite some time before I opened the dusty old folders that served as their well organized abode.

I hope you enjoy these left-overs of my historical labors.  What is coming up this week?  Over the next few days I will publish a few posts about runaway slaves, the interstate slave trade, and concealed weapon laws in the early twentieth century.

I will also be posting copies of papers I am currently working on (for publication) as well as old graduate school papers.

So sit back, come prepared to think, and please share any comments, questions, or rants that these posts might inspire.