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Chapter 7 Free Black People in Antebellum America

Jan 01, 2016



Chapter 7 Free Black People in Antebellum America. Demographics. Free African Americans in 1860 The North 226,152 The Upper South224,963 The Deep South 36,955 Total488,070 Total Population U.S. 26,957,471. Free Black Communities. Dynamic communities - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

The African-American Odyssey

Chapter 7

Free Black Peoplein Antebellum America

DemographicsFree African Americans in 1860The North 226,152The Upper South224,963The Deep South 36,955Total488,070Total Population U.S. 26,957,471

Free Black CommunitiesDynamic communitiesMost free blacks lived in the Upper SouthPhiladelphia, Baltimore, New York, and BostonEstablished distinctive institutionsTo avoid inferior statusPreserve African heritageFree Black communityMutual aid societies-(provided members medical/burial/helped widows)Christian moral characterGenerally restricted to menBlack freemasonsPrince Hall

Origins of IndependentBlack ChurchesCore of Afr. Am. Communities-pastors became leaders-buildings housed schools, social org., and anti-slavery meetingsOrigins of IndependentBlack ChurchesAfrican Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church Richard Allen Absalom JonesBenjamin Rush

The First Black SchoolsAfter RevolutionBlack people established schools for black childrenMutual aid societies and churches created and sustainedProduced a growing class of literate African Americans

Black Leaders and ChoicesEducated black elite provided leadershipRichard AllenAbsalom JonesJames FortenPrince Hall (Petitioned Massachusetts legislature to support colony)MigrationPaul Cuffe and colonizationEnd the Atlantic slave tradeSpread ChristianityRefuge for free black peopleMake profits

How was black freedom limited in the North?Fugitive Slave Laws

Endangered freedom of blacks living in the NorthEscaped slaves could be recapturedFree Blacks were kidnapped into slavery

Caption for visualThis lithograph, published in 1818 by antislavery author Jesse Torrey Jun, depicts a free black man still in handcuffs and leg irons after an attempt to kidnap him into slavery. He is relating details of his experience to a sympathetic white man. The sparsely furnished attic room reflects the living conditions of many free African Americans of the time.

CaptionBlacks who escaped from slavery lived in fear that they might be sought by masters who often posted monetary offers for the return of runaway slavesBlack LawsLimiting ability to voteSegregation of housing, schools, transportation, employment

Black Laws cont..Most white northerners wanted no contact with BlacksFelt Blacks were inferior, dishonest, immoral livesFeared Black competition for jobsContact would degrade Black society


Atmosphere of hate caused African Americans to distrust white peopleGhettosBoston ~ Nigger HillCincinnati ~ Little AfricaSouthern visitors argued blacks better off as slavesSegregationIn 1841, the term Jim Crow was used in Mass to describe railroad carsBlackface minstrel act Black Communities: The Urban NorthUrban neighborhoods Resilient familiesPovertyClass divisionsChurch and volunteer organizationsEducation

Black Communities: The Urban North (cont.)Black familyVarietyTwo-parent households common in 1820Single-parent trend became increasingly commonHeaded by womenHigh male mortality rateEmployment opportunitiesExtended familiesBlack Communities: The Urban North (cont.)EmploymentRising European immigration filled jobsYoung black men excluded from apprenticeshipsLed to deskilling of blacksMenial laborLow wagesUnemployment common

Black Communities: The Urban North (cont.)Black eliteMinisters, doctors, lawyers, and undertakersCarpenters, barbers, waiters, and coachmanBlack institutions and cultureAnti-slavery movementRacial justiceBridge to sympathetic white people

African-American InstitutionsFirst appeared during the revolutionary era, then increased and multiplied.1. Schools (Lincoln University)2. Mutual aid organizations (Black Odd Fellows)3. Benevolent and fraternal organizations4. Newspapers and journals5. Theaters

Free Blacks: The Upper SouthGreater risk of being enslavedAn assumption of slavery in most statesProblems traveling, congregating, owning firearmsGreater exclusion than northern counterpartsHotels, trains, parks, hospitals, etc.

Free Blacks: The Upper South (cont.)EmploymentUrban areas before 1850Less competition from European immigrantsMost free black men were unskilled laborers or waitersMost free black women washed clothes or worked as domestic servantsSchoolsNo racial integration and no public fundingMost black children received no formal educationChurches and individuals provided sporadic opportunitiesFree Blacks: The Deep SouthNo revolutionary rhetoric nor changing economyFewer manumissionsUsually mixed-race childrenThree-caste system in Deep SouthWhites, free blacks, and slavesStrong ties between free blacks and former mastersLoans, jobs, and protection cemented this bondBetter off economically than free black people in other regionsHalf live in citiesStronger position in skilled tradesIncreased conflict and tension among white skilled workersConclusionLife for free black people in the Upper and Deep South more difficult than in the NorthPresumption of slaveryMore restrictive laws