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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Hi Gwen. I never came across something like that in the period I research before about 1800-1820, but treatment of free African Americans changed drastically after Nat Turner's and Gabriel's Rebellions as well as the pressure from the North to free the slaves. But I did come across the case of William Bass who was the foster son of a slave in Marlboro District, South Carolina. His extraordinary case illustrates both the extent which the Bass family intermarried with African Americans and the degree of repression suffered by free African Americans in the mid-nineteenth century. On 14 December 1859 he petitioned the legislature to become the slave of Philip W. Pledger explaining that

"his position as a free person of color, a negro, is more degrading and involves more suffering in this State, than that of a slave...he is preyed upon by every sharper with whom he comes in contact...and is charged with and punished for every offence guilty or not, committed in the neighborhood...and lives a thousand times harder, and in more destitution, than the slaves of many planters" [Henry, "Police Control of the Slave in South Carolina," 196-7 (Charleston Courier, 20 December 1859)].

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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