Discover Enslaved People in the Newspapers

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Newspapers were an important source of information during the period of US slavery, containing advertisements for the buying and selling of enslaved people, notices about enslaved people who sought freedom (known then as "fugitive slaves"), and other relevant information. By searching for keywords related to slavery and enslaved people, you may uncover a wealth of valuable information that may help piece together the stories of those who were enslaved. Read our content warning about this collection.*

Location and/or year range

Explore the articles from newspapers by state or filter by a year range that may be relevant to your research. (Example: Runaway date, jailed date, auction date)

Enslaved persons in the newspapers

Explore enslavement ads and articles

Enslavement ads vary in their format and content, but most include a detailed description of the enslaved person, including their age, sex, physical features, and skills or abilities. Some ads also provide information about the person’s background or family connections.

Choose items below to begin a search:

    Article Type
    Skills and Abilities
    Designated Role
    **Typically names in articles print only first names i.e. John, James, Mary.

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    * Content Warning: This page and the enslavement articles in this collection contain sensitive content related to racial enslavement in the United States and are presented solely for historical and educational purposes. While this database strives to provide accurate and respectful information, the content may be distressing or traumatic for some viewers. Note that the language, including searchable terms, is consistent with the records of this historical period and may be considered offensive and harmful today. Newspapers™ does not endorse discriminatory or racist views and encourages an open and critical approach to US slavery and this content.