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AfriGeneas Discuss! Forum

Re: Social Systems & Slavery
In Response To: Re: Social Systems & Slavery ()

Dear Art:

Thank you for a very nicely written letter.

Since yours was a very long response,... it has taken me a few days to think over all of your questions, while I go about my daily routines.

I have finally found time today, to answer one of them right now,...and perhaps the others will be answered at a later date.

Art:
"...are you saying that the change of status from "slave" to "freed" did NOT automatically constitute a change to a higher "class"?"

My response:
Yes. That is exactly what I am saying to a certain extent."

Although "freedom" changed the living conditions of the "freed" slave,...freedom did NOT, in and of itself, really change the social status of the "freed" person.

Due to the intrinsic nature of a social system based on racism, ...the "freed" person,... (in addition to moving from category #5 to category #4),... would also have to have a change of race in order to be socially elevated.

To change one's race, is of course, impossible, thereby causing a "freed" slave...(moving from #5 to #4)...to remain in the same racial class ......although with more benefits and better living conditions than one who was still enslaved.

My feeling is that it was very unlikely, and virtually impossible to move from class #5 (slave) to #3 (Free People Of Color) unless, of course, they had a white father. (Like, as you mentioned,
the children of Thomas Jefferson).

The terminology used during that era (pre-Civil War)...was Colored/Coloured, Creole of Color, half-breed, Mulatto, and Free People of Color/Gens de Couleur Libres when making reference to persons who were the descendants of bi-racial European/African unions, ...and/or of tri-racial, European/Indian/AFrican unions.

When making reference to non-mixed persons of color, the term was Negro (or black).

The persons who historically, truly belong to category #3 are bi-racial OR tri-racial people.

I have been doing this genealogical work close to 25 years, and in my opinion the use of the term FPOC for people of categories #4 and #5 is euphemistic,....and while it may be done with the very good intention of unifying all persons of color, ("free" and "freed"),...in the long run, it can be very confusing.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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