Friday, March 16, 2012


Looking for some primary sources to share with teachers in an upcoming workshop I ran across an advertisement for a runaway slave in an August 1855 edition of the Louisville Daily Journal. This particular issue spent the majority of its space covering the "Bloody Monday" riots, which I will post on soon.

The ad stated:
"Ran away from the subscriber, in Jefferson county, on Friday, July 20, the negro man REUBEN, 45 years old, a broad, well-built man, very black, high, well-formed nose, white teeth, and receding forehead; hair generally kept plaited and very long; one hand much injured by a cut, so he cannot more than half open it; fine appearance for a negro. I will give $50 reward for him if taken in State, or $100 if taken out of State and secured so that I can get him. L.I. Dorsey"

I don't believe that I have ever ran across a runaway ad that described a male slave with plaited long hair. However, it was not unusual to describe slaves with scars or injuries, as it provided a good and positive identifier. It would be interesting to know how this slave's hand was cut. Was it an accident? Was it self-imposed? Did it happen in a fight?

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