Suggested Classroom Activities
  • Read the poem at the beginning of the essay. Discuss its meaning. Discuss the poem's cadence and structure.
  • Write a story that describes what happened in the past to cause an individual who is described in one of the runaway ads to want to run away and/or write a story that describes what happens to the individual in the future.
  • Create a two- or three-dimensional artwork depicting one or more of the people described in one of the advertisements. Write a statement to accompany the artwork.
  • Draw the name of a classmate from a hat and write a runaway ad describing this person. As you do so, think about how the runaway ads are structured and what they include and exclude. Write a second ad describing yourself and then compare it to the ad that was written by the classmate who chose your name. Then write a short piece about how the runaway ads reflect the perspective and interest of the slaveowner.
  • Discuss who is writing the ad and who will be reading the ad. Are there any cultural clues suggesting a person's origin? Is there a pattern suggesting what type of individual is most likely to run away (male, female, single, married, old, young, skilled, unskilled, etc.)? Write a short essay, using examples from the ads, to show how these ads might provide valuable insights to historians.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of one of the enslaved individuals described in the ads. Write about how you came to the decision to run away and the steps you would take to elude capture and reach your final goal.



Student Essay

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