The NYC-based street artist known as “Almost Over Keep Smiling” gave a minor update to slightly reinterpret this 19th century warning poster telling anybody who was Black in a “free” state like New York to stay away from the police because the federal government had passed a law empowering people to capture them and return them to slavery.
The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850. It required that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate. Abolitionists nicknamed it the “Bloodhound Bill,” for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves. The Act contributed to the growing polarization of the country over the issue of slavery, and is considered one of the causes of the Civil War.