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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: news article re: ante-bellum Fayetteville, NC


He was a free man, by trade a blacksmith as well as a preacher. He purchased the ground with his own money and by the aid of his white and colored members erected the first Methodist church building in the place. He preached to both white and colored members as long as he lived and had put the church on a sure footing before he died. Rev. Mr. Chavis, a free colored man, who was a Presbyterian minister, lived at Fayetteville. He left there and went to Chatham county, where he taught school exclusively for white boys. The white people of Faytetteville in those days encouraged colored men to go into business, and patronized them. In many branches of mechanism colored men were the leading contractors, and many of them accumulated property and were tax-payers in a considerable amount. At this day, it may not seem credible, but at the time, white boys were placed under colored men to learn a trade. All of the pilots on the boats plying between Fayetteville and Wilmingon were colored men, and nearly all the engineers. The only white persons engaged on the boats were the captains and the mates. The colored people not only had schools in Fayetteville, but some of their schools were conducted by colored teachers. Among them were Wm. Harris, a brother of Bishop C. R. Harris, of the A. M. E. Zion Church. Margaret Revels, a cousin of Senator Revels, of Mississippi, and Mariah Chestnutt, the mother of C. W. Chestnutt, the colored novelist, now residing at Cleveland, O. I attended school eleven years prior to 1869. My first school teacher was the mother of Mr. Walter Page, the distinguished North Carolinian and advocate of education, now residing in New York. It is true that after 1835, when the vote was taken away from free colored men, the Legislature passed laws that restricted their privileges, but at Fayetteville the "lex non scripta" prevailed and practically these laws were a dead letter. be continued...

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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