Juneteenth Hack-a-Thon Information

On Friday June 28, 2019 from 12-2 p.m.  the New Jersey State Library, in partnership with Freedom on the Move, will host a Hack-a-Thon in honor of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Freedom on the Move (FOTM), an online project devoted to fugitives from slavery in North America, is enlisting the help of the public to create a database for tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African-Americans.  Participants in State Library’s Juneteenth Hack-a-Thon will join forces to contribute transcriptions to this project.

Participants are welcome to come and transcribe ads anytime during the event! Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops.  The State Library will be providing limited computer equipment for the event.

The insights the ads provide into the experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans are especially valuable because so little information about them as individuals has been preserved. The output of this crowdsourced project will be a growing database of thousands of individuals, and the places and people associated with them. This in turn will be an invaluable research aid, pedagogical tool and resource for genealogists, classes and individuals.

Interested in participating in the Juneteenth Hack-a-Thon, but not sure what is involved?  Keep reading!


About Freedom on the Move

Freedom on the Move, a project spearheaded by Cornell University, has digitized thousands of advertisements from newspapers seeking enslaved individuals who fled to freedom.  The ads provide a physical description and may include biographical details valuable to those involved in genealogical research.  Freedom on the Move is accessible to transcribers any time.  Participants are able to log in, create an account, and get to work transcribing ads whenever they like!  There is a guided tutorial available on the site to review before working on your first ad.

What will I be doing during the event? 

Ad for a runaway slave placed by Thomas Jefferson
  1. Log in and create an account.  This is free and easy and takes only a few minutes.  New registrants may either use e-mail, Facebook, or Google to create an account.  Participants are encouraged visit Freedom on the Move prior to the event to create their free account and explore the site!
  2. Transcribe an ad. Freedom on the Move will provide you with an ad in either English, French, or Spanish.  Type the transcription.
  3. Enter Metadata. After finishing your transcription, Freedom on the Move asks for additional information from the ad.  This includes names, dates, physical descriptors, and other information found in the ad.
  4. Submit your completed entry. You’re ready to transcribe another ad!

What Computer Skills do I need to participate?

  • Able operate a computer keyboard and mouse without assistance
  • Able to open an internet browser (Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) and navigate to a web page
  • Be in possession of a valid e-mail or active social media (Facebook or Google) and make sure you know your password!



Still interested?  Register here!  (Registration is required for the event due to limited space and computer equipment.)

The Hack-a-Thon will take place on Friday June 28, 2019 from 12-2 p.m.  Participants are welcome to come and transcribe ads anytime during the event!  If you have any additional questions, please contact Regina Fitzpatrick or Andrew Dauphinee.