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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

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

You write:
"Online, look up the 1790 - 1850 Federal Census' for the states of Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia.

There you will find "free" people of color who were slaveowners who held more than 10,000 slaves that later became "freed people of color".

The former group were "FREE" people of color,...while the latter group were "FREED" after the Civil War.
That's my point.

Also, GOOGLE the book entitled Black Slaveowners, by Koger.

cpc "

I'm not Hollis, but forgive me if I ask a question: What would be the correct term for my 3rd great grandfather, Zack Cage who was listed on the 1850 census? That is the first census I found him in and he is enumerated as a free man (of color since his race is listed as B(lack)). According to the definition given above he is a "free person of color" --although he owns no slaves.


I found Zack listed as a slave being given to his wife by William Cage in his will in 1811. I am fairly certain this Zack is my 3rd great grandfather. So, he in fact was once a slave. But he was freed well before the Civil War, which would be contrary to your definition of a "freed" person of color.

This is the difficulty I think most people are having with the definitions you are interpreting above. While there is some value in designating a person "free" vs "freed", I think it is ONLY in knowing when a person may have been freed and which records to look for during the pre-Civil War period. As another poster stated, if I was looking for a black/mulatto/colored/negro ancestor in 1850 or 1860 it wouldn't matter if he/she had been born free or had been freed in 1840, they would still have pretty much the same rights and be found in the same records.

This may be different in Virginia or Louisiana where there were communities of "free people of color" who kept themselves separate (and above) other free/freed people of color. Since this section of the board does not restrict itself to those particular communities, it is difficult to apply such a rigid and restrictive definition with regards to who should or should not be posting to this section.

And finally, aside from the need of the information to help direct questioners on where to look for information, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT REALLY MAKE? Who cares if my ancestor was born free, had parents and grandparents who were born free, or was freed in the will of their slaveowner in 1843? Does having an ancestor who was a "free person of color" vs a "freed person of color" really make one person any better or more knowledgeable than the next? They were ALL COLORED! :)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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