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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: "Free" vs. "Freed".
In Response To: "Free" vs. "Freed". ()

I do understand your position here, but I do have a bit of a problem with your wording in the definition. You state: ""Free" persons of color came from families that were NEVER enslaved,....while in contrast "Freed" persons of color were enslaved at some point, then given their freedom." Here is my problem. You state the "Freed" persons of color were enslaved at some point (the individual), but that "Free" persons of color came from families that were never enslaved (the family group, not just the individual). The issue I have with this is that say for example I am researching John Doe who was born free in 1835. He was the son of James Doe born free in 1815. James was the son of Henry Doe, the freed slave of Joe Doe. By your definition, even though John was born free and his father was born free, he would be considered "freed" instead of "free" even though his grandfather was the last slave in the family. I think this was the issue that Toot and Selma were talking about.

I would modify your definition to say "Free" persons of color were NEVER enslaved,....while in contrast "Freed" persons of color were enslaved at some point, then given their freedom."

I do understand the need to differentiate between "free" and "freed" and the social impact on a "freed" person of color in contrast to a "free" person of color. In my own experience though as a researcher exclusively researching free (and freed) people of color in North Carolina, I see very little difference in the treatment of freed vs. free born people of color in court records, land records, etc. as once a slave was freed, he was allowed the same "benefits" as a free person of color (buying land, doing business with other free and freed persons of color, carrying a gun with a license, serving on juries and road patrols, etc.) The only real difference I see in a legal sense and how they are treated by the law is that freed slaves were required to leave the state after a certain amount of time passed since their manumission; however, I've also seen so many exceptions to this law. I can't speak for treatment in MD, VA, etc. as I have not done any research there.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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