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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Free Person
In Response To: Re: Free Person ()

Hi Renae,

The librarian in Jackson was not 100% correct. In point of fact, an article in The Journal of Negeo History 4 (July 1919), page 27, by William Llyod Imes states, "Free Negroes of 'good character,' either resident in the State prior to 1836 or having removed to the State before that year, and preferring, in their respective county courts, petitions to remain in the same, might do so, but otherwise must leave the State under severe penalties of imprisonment and hard labor, as provided under the law of 1831, prior to the new constitution. The subjects of this legal provision were to renew this court proceeding every three years, under the same penalty for failing to perform the renewal. The laws of registry of free Negroes were kept in force and made, if anything, more rigid." So there were free persons of color who lived in Tennessee before the law was written in 1831. They could (and some did) petition to remain in the state.

You can use a search engine to find more information about fpoc in TN. You may or may not ever find your gr-gr-grandfather as a fpoc in TN or elsewhere, but rest assured that there were free persons of color in every state of the US prior to the Civil War.

May the ancestors continue to guide you.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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