COLUMBUS, Miss. Christian Friar, a senior history major at Mississippi
University for Women, is documenting runaway slave advertisements from
Mississippi and Alabama post-Civil War at the Columbus Lowndes Public
Library this summer.
³Friar is poring over the more than twenty pre-1865 county newspapers both
on microfilm and in hard-copy format. She is creating a transcription of
the advertisements text as well as capturing a scanned digital image of each
entry,² said Mona Vance, Archivist in the Local History Department at
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.
The local project is in conjunction with a larger research project called
³Documenting Runaway Slaves² at the University of Southern Mississippi. MUW
is collaborating to help document newspaper advertisements placed by slave
masters seeking the capture and return of runaway slaves.
³I came across a very interesting advertisement for a runaway slave. As it
turns out, the slave was actually stolen from Georgia and brought to Lowndes
County,² said Friar. She added, ³Another slave ran away after allegedly
killing his master¹s wife, but was later captured.²
³This study is important to help build the knowledge of African American
history for this area,² said Vance.
According to Friar, ³This project is important because it sheds more light
not only on an important topic such as slavery, but how society was at that
A blog post at the library archives stated: ³Runaway slave advertisements
personalize history, providing important clues about the lives of slaves,
their efforts at self-emancipation, and the viewpoints of their masters. The
ads often include first and last names of the slaves and their masters,
where they lived, ages, and names of the current and previous slaveholder.
They sometimes also include reasons why the slave fled, possible
destinations, clothing, special skills or talents, and personality
The project will gather these documents and organize them into a full-text
searchable online resource for academic researchers, genealogists and anyone
who wants to learn more about this time period.
³I have learned a lot on just how the newspapers viewed slavery by how they
described the runaways and the articles in the papers about slavery,² added
For more information contact Chris Friar by email at firstname.lastname@example.org