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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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The CIO Promotes Anti-Discrimination Legislation during World War II

This billboard advertisement, dating from the early 1940s, suggests the common ground shared by the labor and civil rights movements. Created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the more progressive of the country's two main labor [...]

18th-Century Runaway Slave Advertisements

These newspaper advertisements seeking runaway slaves offer interesting details about the individual lives of eighteenth-century slaves and their masters.

Runaway Slave Advertisement from Revolutionary Virginia

After Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, promised freedom to indentured servants and slaves who would escape and serve in the British forces, newspapers printed numerous advertisements for runaways whose owners suspected them of responding to [...]

"Consumer's Guide"

The Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog dates back to 1888, when Richard Sears first used a mailer to sell watches and jewelry. The U.S. Post Office provided a boon to the mail order business by allowing mail order publications to be classified as [...]

A Maryland Slave Runs Toward Freedom

Runaway slave advertisements offer a wealth of information about the movements and motivations of escaped slaves. This advertisement offers a reward for the capture and return of Sam MacKall, a Maryland slave who ran away from his master in Prince [...]

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Runaway Slave Advertisement from Antebellum Virginia

In this handbill from 1854, a Virginia slaveowner advertises a large reward for the return of a 33 year-old enslaved man. Historians have noted the use of woodprint images, such as the one seen here, as evidence of the frequency of runaway [...]

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A Freedman Seeks to Reunite His Family

After emancipation, many former slaves immediately searched for family members who had been sold away during slavery. They used whatever scant information they had and frequently placed advertisements like this in southern newspapers.

Slave Advertisements in Colonial New York

As in the southern colonies, New York newspapers were filled with slave advertisements that provide many details about the life and labor of enslaved New Yorkers. Historian Jill Lepore calculates that 253 advertisements for runaway slaves and [...]

Help Wanted Advertisements in the Chicago Defender

In the United States, the outbreak of World War I (1914-1918) increased the demand for industrial production while decreasing the flow of European immigration. Labor shortages in both factories, mines, fields, and service industries meant greater [...]

Item Type: Advertisement
Advertisement for El Bien Publico

Many immigrants joined mutual aid societies, which gave them a way to pool their financial resources to help members in times of crisis. Cuban immigrants in Tampa established El Bien Publico ("The Public Good") to provide medical services to their [...]