AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: FPOC: An "Ill-Fated Class?"
In Response To: FPOC: An "Ill-Fated Class?" ()
Good question M,
Here's my 2 cents worth:
I have here on my lap - another stack of books, among them "the Philadelphia Negro" by Dubois, and some books that deal with what happened to us after slavery... by and large it was FPOC and their children - many of whom were not illiterate - who established schools, churches, businesses.. and provided a foundation for the development of a black middle class in America.
During slavery days - those same FPOC founded abolition societies, newspapers and conducted in the Underground Railroad, organized worker's movements - etc.
I will say however that though the VA legislature passed laws - they weren't particularly effective since I find lots of FPOC - right in the counties where they were freed. The State of Maryland gave up some of their efforts to get rid of FPOC - pointing to the failure of the policies in VA, and also pointing out that farmers would suffer the loss of cheap hired labor.
Were all FPOC as characterized - no. Were some of them - yes. Forced into the margins of society, many were not as well fed as their slave brothers and some turned to crime, operated roadhouses, gin-mills, and houses of prostitution.
As to their motivations - many feared the destabilizing effect of FPOC around their "happy contented slaves". Fear swept the state after the Nat Turner rebellion. Others had economic motives - and still others were just racists to the core.
There were however some legislators who fought that legislation, and interestingly VA had a larger number of abolition activists than did some areas of the North.