Black History Moment: Post-Emancipation era “Information Wanted” ads

by Feb 20, 2021Blog0 comments

Yesterday was a highlight on state-level cohabitation laws (like Virginia) that passed after the legal end of slavery.  Those laws sought to legitimize/legalize African American marriage relationships that began during the slavery era.  In the years following Emancipation (abolition of slavery), formerly enslaved Black men and women earnestly began their search to reunite with their loved ones.  That being said, today’s black history moment will focus on this family reunification effort.
Key Facts about the “Information Wanted” ads
* After Emancipation, these ads were written by formerly enslaved black men and women seeking to reunite with loved ones that were kidnapped/sold away, or were runaway fugitives during the American slavery era
* These ads were typically published & circulated in black churches and/or black-owned newspapers across the USA
* These ads are currently being digitized in a joint project between Villanova University and Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, PA
Significance of the “Information Wanted” ads
* Provides a rich source of information for African Americans interested in researching their family lineage/heritage
* Commemorates African American families that were lost during the American slavery era
Visit the below websites and/or conduct your own research to learn more about “information wanted” ads posted by formerly enslaved African Americans:
CBS News video: “19th-century ads written by newly freed slaves tell story about chapter in history”
“LAST SEEN: Finding Family After Slavery” joint project by Villanova University & Mother Bethel AME Church
Washington Post article: ” ‘My mother was sold from me’: After slavery, the desperate search for loved ones in ‘last seen ads’ “