Defining Identity: A Prosopography Of Runaway Slaves In The French Caribbean
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My thesis will use runaway slave ads collected from a daily newspaper printed in the French colony of Saint Domingue (Haiti1). I will explore how masters tried to identify their slaves sufficiently so they might be apprehended and returned. Runaway slave ads provide a more realistic and honest description of how masters tried to label their slaves in contrast to sale ads, which sometimes exaggerated the truth in an attempt to make a sale. This thesis explores escaped slave advertisements from Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe to analyze those differences and similarities that existed concerning those who ran away. It provides unique insight into slave education, occupation, physical abuse, and objects that facilitate fleeing. These ads represent the untold stories of thousands of slaves, and through a close reading, the story of the individuals who ran away and fought to be free become known.