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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: First Free Negro in English America?

As usual your postings are insightful and informative. If I may be allowed to pick a nit, I see no reason to suppose that a free black coming to Virginia had been freed, i.e. was formerly a slave. I simply can not put my hands on enough specific information to make that judgement one way or the other. Over the years I have seen a plethora of credentialed investigators make scholarly judgements based on insufficient research, judgements which would have been significantly altered had they done more in depth research.

There may have been other free blacks at Jamestown. There would be no reason to record the race of a free black Englishman other than as necessary in the specifics of a court record. In court records of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century we are surprised to learn that certain "Negroes", styled as "Free African Americans" are actually Indians, East Indians, or Gypsies. Had such specific ethnic information not been germaine to the issues of a given court case, these individuals would have remained generic "Negroes", i.e. non- white, skewing what we have come to know as African American history.



18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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