Terms & statistics from ...
1939/10 "Virginia Free Negro Farmer & Property Owner 1830-1860"
by Luther Porter JACKSON & published in the 'Journal of Negro History'
v24 #4 p390-439.
The free negro was largely a product of the American Revolution
with its emphasis on the natural rights of man.
This doctrine led to a wholesale manumission of slaves,
thereby creating the free negro class.
1790 Virginia had 12,866 free negroes.
Only 1.7% of Virginia's population consisted of free people of color.
In the 13 former colonies & the territories of Kentucky, Maine & Vermont,
the combined figure was even smaller.
1810 Virginia had 30,570 free negroes.
1830 Virginia had 47,348 free negroes.
1860 Virginia had 58,052 free negroes which consituted
12% of the black population. Most of these were rural dwellers
... only 1/5 lived in cities & towns. The vast majority
were descendants of persons who were free prior to 1806.