Ngrams – 1848/55

Running my ads through the Ngram program there do seem to be some patterns in regards to where the various keywords fall within the ads. “Negro,” for instance nearly always appears next to the words “boy,” or “man,” also keywords, with the one exception of a reference to “negro cloth,” in clothing. The word boy interestingly appeared next to varying ages, from nine to 34, which points to the suspected occasional use of the word in a derogatory fashion. “Man” appears next to black or negro, while “girl” and “woman,” appear next to descriptions of age or the slave’s name. “Color” appeared next to words referencing the skin tone of the runaway slave, copper and black most often. “Mulatto,” also accompanied descriptions of skin. “Texas,” appeared next to the location the slave left or was captured most often. “Said,” is usually used to reference the slave or a location, while “says” is exclusively in ads about captured slaves in my sample, referring to either who the slave says their master is or their name is.

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