Runaways, Coffles and Fancy Girls is the latest book by Nashville historian Bill Carey, author of the bestselling work Fortunes Fiddles and Fried Chicken.
Carey's new book is a revealing look at the history of slavery in Tennessee. In researching it, Carey dug up more than 900 runaway slave ads and more than 400 slave sale ads published in Tennessee's newspapers between 1791 and 1864. These ads prove that the institution of slavery was far more entrenched in Tennessee society than people realize today; that the government of Nashville once owned 26 slaves; that just about every factory, railroad and large government project advertised for slave labor; that slave sales occurred routinely at every courthouse in the state; and much more. Not a typical history book, Runaways, Coffles and Fancy Girls is shocking and detailed, but also inspirational.
Bill Carey is a former Tennessean, Nashville Scene, WPLN and NashvillePost.com reporter who now works as the executive director of a non-profit organization known as Tennessee History for Kids. He also writes a monthly history column for Tennessee Magazine.