Podcast episode explores resistance to slavery via newspaper ads

By: Tyler Lurie-Spicer,  Society for the Humanities
Mon, 10/04/2021

A new episode of The Humanities Pod podcast, “Tweets of the Un-Mastered Class: Exploring the Freedom on the Move Database with Edward Baptist,” discusses the stories of self-liberated fugitives from American slavery through the lens of over 30,000 original documents depicting their escapes.

Cover art for The Humanities Pod

“One of the things that we learn from these tens of thousands of ads, is that people were continuously resisting. And in the process of resisting, they write themselves— they inscribe themselves on precisely the archive that is meant to police them,” Edward Baptist, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, said in the episode.

Baptist, author of “The Half has Never Been Told-- Slavery in the Making of American Capitalism” (Basic Books, 2014), is one of the co-founders of  Freedom on the Move, a collaborative, crowdsourced public history project created by scholars, students, and citizen historians. Its database of “runaway ads” is not only publicly available, but the project works in partnership with K-12 educators to create pedagogical resources for teaching the history of American slavery.

“The Humanities Pod,” from Cornell’s Society for the Humanities (A&S), showcases the new and exciting work of humanists at and around Cornell through informal conversations with faculty, fellows, and special guests.

“The Humanities Pod” episodes are available for download on iTunes, Spotify, and for streaming on the Society for the Humanities website where transcripts are also posted.

Tyler Lurie-Spicer is events coordinator for the Society for the Humanities.


  slaves with bags