Slave narratives are defined as the “dictated and written representations of the life experiences of enslaved peoples” (Davis & Gates, The Slave’s Narrative). Many of the runaway slave ads include specific and intriguing details about the varied lives of the enslaved that could be construed as offering a kind of narrative of their lives under enslavement.
Many of the slave ads record vivid details about the physical descriptions of the runaways. This could include details about their height, weight, striking features, or information about their scars, markings, physical disabilities and/or missing limbs.
“stout, tall, black man”Feb. 14, 1785
“about five feet high, has a flat large nose marked with the small pox, commonly wears an earring.”May 17, 1783