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‘He Pretends to Be a Dancer’
James McFilie a Gael on the Run in Winter

It should come as no surprise to those who have read this far, that any man or woman with a trade or skill that was not in line with the needs of the master who bought them, would be subject to invalidation. In this way, the growing trade in Black slaves—mostly in the Southland, was more humane, as the owners of Negroes often favored such property as had additional skills. For instance, a Negro who was a talented dancer would work in the fields and then pull additional duty entertaining his masters in the house or on the porch. In this way Caucasian bondage, according to various terms of service, was even more dehumanizing than the same length of time spent as a Negro slave and resembled more the ancient Roman system.

December 4, 1760

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away, on the 25th of last Month, from the Subscriber, living near Christiana Creek, in Chester County, a Servant Man, lately from Ireland, named James McFilie, about 20 Years of Age, has short black Hair, dark Complexion, slender, about 5 Feet 8 Inches high, grey Eyes;

had on a Castor Hat, an old blue Cloth Coat, patched at the Elbows, an old Velvet Waistcoat, old Cloth Breeches, Check Shirt, a Pair of white Stockings, and another Pair of grey, and a pair of Shoes;

he pretends to be a Dancer.

Whoever takes up and secures said Servant, so as his Master gets him again, shall have Three Pounds Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by ANDREW McDOWELL.

America in Chains

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