AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: Who were Free People of Color?
In Response To: Re: Who were Free People of Color? ()
The term Free people of color is a VERY broad term that applies to diverse people from all regions of the United States. People who were defined as Free people of color were usually individuals of mostly African descent or multi-racial ancestry who were free or freed before the Emancipation Proclaimation that emancipated ALL black people. A free person of color was sometimes referred as a free negro or a free mulatto in the records. Their were free people of african descent or of partial african ancestry as early as the 1600s in British America up to the years leading to the Civil War. There were also free people of color in French Louisiana and Spanish Florida. You dont have to be racially mixed to be considered as free person of color,even though in Louisiana, mixed raced people were usually considered gen de coleur libre while people of mostly african descent were listed as being free negro or free negress(but sometimes free people of color were used for both regardless of ancestry because many people of native american ancestry were considered free people of color or mulattoes)
My ancestors in Louisiana were defined as negre libre, negresse libre, free person of color, gens de coleur libre,mulatto/ss libre, quadroon libre, hommes de coleur. Regardless of their ethnic makeup, a free person of color usually denoted someone of known African ancestry who was not enslaved in Antebellum America. Even if they were indentured servants, they were still defined by the dominant society as being a "person of color" after the end of their indentures.
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