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Runaway Slave Poster

Runaway Slave PosterWoodstock, 1803 Broadside Collection

This runaway slave poster is just one of many documents in the Connecticut Historical Society collection which help tell the story of slavery and abolition in Connecticut. Native Americans were the first people enslaved in the Connecticut Colony, but trade with the West Indies soon brought enslaved Africans to the colony as well. Some enslaved people took great risks to escape life-long captivity. Runaway slave posters like this one and advertisements taken out in newspapers by slave owners reveal clues about the living conditions of—and attitudes toward—enslaved people in the 1700s and 1800s.

The Connecticut Historical Society also has both pro-slavery and anti-slavery posters and letters, autobiographies of former slaves, manumission documents, military enlistment documents for enslaved soldiers, brochures for Connecticut companies that insured slaves in the South (even after Connecticut abolished slavery in 1848), and other related material. For a partial list of materials, see the Bibliography of African American Resources at the Connecticut Historical Society.