RUNNING AWAY AND REBELLING
Christmas was a popular time of year to run away from one’s master and to seek freedom in the North. Slaves reasoned that they were less likely to be missed at home or apprehended on the roads at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. They would not be expected to show up for their daily chores until after the holiday. Furthermore, whites were accustomed to seeing many black wayfarers on the streets and byways during the holiday season. The liberties allowed to slaves at Christmas time may also have inspired a number of slave revolts. One historian has estimated that approximately one third of both documented and rumored slave rebellions occurred around Christmas. In the year 1856, slave revolts occurred in nearly every slave-holding state at Christmas time.