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Special Collections Digital Exhibits: The Freedom Activist Archive

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Special Collections has posted The Freedom Activist Archive on its digital exhibits page. The archive, created by Dr. Delicia Daniels through research in the Louisiana Room, establishes a key aspect of African American Culture currently underdeveloped in government archives by extending and altering the way we engage the narratives of “runaway slaves.”

This archive begins with the transformation of an 1831 New Orleans antebellum newspaper titled The Bee. Twenty-Seven “runaways slave ads” were collected to complete this assessment. The men and women in these advertisements are according to Marisa Fuentes, “spectacularly violated, objectified, disposable, hypersexualized, and silenced.” To counter this cruelty, The Freedom Activist Archive, presented through Scalar, a digital platform, conceals this cruel vilification with a visual method of erasure and highlights appropriate categories such as Political Clothing and Escape Measures based on unobserved language in the original ad.