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What's Up Magazine

Freedom Bound

Feb 21, 2013 09:27PM ● By Anonymous

The exhibit opens with the story of Stephen, a slave who has run away from Charles Carroll of Annapolis in 1728. Carroll’s ad in the Gazette offering a reward for his missing “Negroe Man” became the earliest runaway notice printed in the Chesapeake region. Another ad in the same newspaper brought to notice a neighbor’s missing horse. When he was found and returned to his master, Stephen would be sentenced to execution for stealing the horse to aid his escape.

The Historic Annapolis Museum uses the ads printed in the Gazette to tell the stories of Stephen and eight other runaways between 1720 and 1860. Considered property, their absence was documented in the newspaper in great detail. Extensive descriptions of the runaways, including physical characteristics and styles of clothing, are given in a hope of securing their return. Videos, historical artifacts, lifelike reproductions and hands-on exhibits fill the second and third floors of the museum, humanizing the stories of real people lifted from the pages of a newspaper.

While the slave owners like Charles Carroll and George Washington fill our history books, the Historic Annapolis Museum’s exhibit brings to life the incredible stories of the slaves who resisted their condition and asserted control over their lives. Freedom Bound fills a chapter of Maryland history that is so often overlooked. The exhibit is a must see for not only history buffs but also locals. It’s fascinating, and it’s free. The stories of the nine runaways will stay with you for a very long time.

Freedom Bound: Runaways of the Chesapeake Region is on display at the Historic Annapolis Museum located at 99 Main Street in Annapolis. For more information and hours, visit or call 410-626-1033.