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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Black Slaveowners - FPOC
In Response To: Re: Black Slaveowners - FPOC ()

Hello Denise:

My research on black slaveowners is simply this: They were slave owners warts and all.

It would nice to believe the much accepted fallacy that black slave owners were only in the business to buy their families out of slavery. There were certainly a substantial number of free Blacks who rescued their famiies from slavery. However the documented numbers of enslaved Blacks by Blacks overshadow familial manumissions.

Legal records, books and papers reveal that there were black slave owners, who treated them "well" and granted them freedom after a period of time. Also documented were Blacks who would make Simon Legree look like a choir boy. Some bought themselves out of slavery and turned around and bought slaves to work in their new enterprise as a free man.

My words are not an Apologia. Free Blacks were humans and they acted as good and bad humans. We of course want to hold them to a higher standard, but the truth is that they acted according to the era and the circumstance in which they lived. An African American scholar explained that slavery was a very complex system influenced by region, climate, culture and as you mentioned earlier... crops or industry. Free people of color owned slaves just like their white counterparts. They may have owned more in the Lower South and less in the Upper South. But it was easier to gain freedom in the Lower South than the Upper. I'll leave that for another discussion.

Were they good guys or bad guys? They were our guys...warts and all.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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