Caution!! Colored People of Boston
This is a facsimile of a broadside published in Boston on April 24, 1851, warning all African Americans in the city—including both free blacks and runaway slaves—"to avoid conversing with the Watchmen and Police Officers of Boston," who had recently been empowered to arrest suspected runaway slaves. This order came in response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which gave federal officials greater power in fugitive-slave cases. Theodore Parker, a Massachusetts abolitionist, posted this notice to alert African Americans in the area of the danger involved with "so many Hounds on the track of the most unfortunate of your race."
Anne Spencer, a civil rights activist from Lynchburg and an important member of the African American literary movement of the 1920s, tacked this broadside onto the wall of her study.
Citation: Papers of Anne Spencer and the Spencer Family, 1829, 1864–2007. Accession 14204. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.