Thinks Himself Free: Escaped Slaves in 18th Century Britain

Simon P. NewmanHumanities Forum — Webb Lecture
Simon P. Newman, Sir Denis Brogan Professor of American History, University of Glasgow
“Thinks Himself Free: Escaped Slaves in 18th Century Britain”
Tuesday, October 23, 4 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

There were thousands of enslaved people in eighteenth-century Britain, brought from around the world by colonists, merchants, planters, clergymen, government officials, and officers. While valued for their labor, these enslaved men, women, and, most especially, children, served as symbols of the success of their masters. This lecture will explore the attempts at escape of some of those enslaved men, women, and children. Drawing on runaway slave advertisements in British newspapers, the lecture will show that although enslavement in Britain appeared mild when compared with the horrors of New World slavery, masters and mistresses continued to believe they held the enslaved as chattel property.

Simon P. Newman is the Sir Denis Brogan Professor of American History at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently A New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic (2013), which was awarded the British Association for American Studies Book Prize. His current research focuses on enslaved people who escaped in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic World, and he is the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded research project “Runaway Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” During the 2018-19 academic year, he will hold the Mowat Mellon Research Fellowship at the Folger Institute in Washington D.C., where he will be working on a book entitled Runaways: Resisting Enslavement in the British Atlantic World.


Admission is free. A book signing and reception will follow the program.


Sponsored by the Department of History and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

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