African American History Forum
Re: Pre-Civil War African Americans Residents
In Response To: Pre-Civil War African Americans Residents ()
I did this research a long time ago (and this discussion was sparked by a statement I made saying that the south always had more FPOC than the north). After the discussion, I made a chart to illustrate my point, located at http://www.ncalhn.org/fpoccensusstats1790-1860.pdf. Some points I want to make:
1. It was stated that there were FPOC in the north who were passing. The same is true for the south, and even those who weren't trying to pass were so light the enumerator took them as being white.
2. with the 1860 census, for example, there is a difference of roughly 25,000. It was stated in today's lunch bunch discussion that it was too close to declare a "winner" b/c there are a lot not accounted for at all or who were enumerated as white in the north. But the same is also true for the south. We really just can't know unless someone invents a time machine and we go back and county each person ourselves.
3. The reliability of the census data was called into question today and I do agree and see the point, but we need to remember that census data is used for a multitude of statistic measurements, even for governmental use such as determining how many representatives each state is allowed, etc. To me, that raises the reliability of census data as far as the numbers are concerned (names are a whole nother issue though!). It's not perfect of course, but it's probably the best source we have as far as population statistics goes.