Dr Shaun Wallace, University of Bristol

Speaker Event via Zoom

Wednesday 27 January 4pm (UK), Dr Shaun Wallace, University of Bristol 

Dr Shaun Wallace

Please join us on Wednesday 27 January at 4pm, when Dr Shaun Wallace (University of Bristol) will give a talk discussing fugitive slave advertisements and the new Fugitive Slave Database. All welcome.

If you'd like to attend, email Dr Laura Rattray (Laura.Rattray@glasgow.ac.uk) and you'll receive a secure Zoom link on the day of the talk.


‘In Pursuit of Freedom: Peter, Isaac, and the Curious Case of the Fugitive Jeff Davis’

Dr Shaun Wallace (University of Bristol)

A window into black agency, empowerment, and self-actualization as fugitives moved from enslaved to enselved, fugitive slave advertisements are used to reveal the experiences of enslaved individuals and their heroic acts of fugitivity as they pursued uncertain freedom from American slavery. From the publication of the first fugitive slave advertisement in an American newspaper in 1705 to the last in 1864, fugitivity notices were a daily feature of American newspapers. This paper introduces these advertisements for the first time and draws on selected case studies to reveal stories of fugitivity that fugitives did not tell themselves in the early national United States. In doing so, the paper introduces the Fugitive Slave Database – a new and unique digital archive and one of the largest collections of American fugitive slave advertisements in the world.

Dr Shaun Wallace (University of Bristol) is a Lecturer in Modern American History, specialising in the eighteenth and nineteenth century international slave trade. His research focuses on enslaved fugitives and fugitivity in the US South during the early national and antebellum eras. Shaun is the creator of the Fugitive Slave Database, one of the largest digital archives of fugitive slave advertisements in the world, and is currently writing his first book, In Pursuit of Freedom: Enslaved Runaways and Resistance in the U.S. South, 1790-1860 (forthcoming with the University of Georgia Press). The database is features in several articles and book chapters currently in press.

First American fugitive slave ad

First published: 12 January 2021