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Chapter 7 Free Black People in Antebellum America

Dec 24, 2015

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  • Chapter 7 Free Black People in Antebellum America
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  • 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
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  • Free Black Communities Dynamic communities Most free blacks lived in the Upper South Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Boston Established distinctive institutions To avoid inferior status Preserve African heritage
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  • Free Black community Mutual aid societies- (provided members medical/burial/helped widows) Christian moral character Generally restricted to men Black freemasons Prince Hall
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  • Origins of Independent Black Churches Core of Afr. Am. Communities -pastors became leaders -buildings housed schools, social org., and anti-slavery meetings
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  • Origins of Independent Black Churches African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church Richard Allen Absalom Jones Benjamin Rush
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  • The First Black Schools After Revolution Black people established schools for black children Mutual aid societies and churches created and sustained Produced a growing class of literate African Americans
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  • Black Leaders and Choices Educated black elite provided leadership Richard Allen Absalom Jones James Forten Prince Hall ( Petitioned Massachusetts legislature to support colony)
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  • Migration Paul Cuffe and colonization End the Atlantic slave trade Spread Christianity Refuge for free black people Make profits
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  • How was black freedom limited in the North?
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  • Fugitive Slave Laws Endangered freedom of blacks living in the North Escaped slaves could be recaptured Free Blacks were kidnapped into slavery
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  • Caption for visual This 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.
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  • Caption Blacks who escaped from slavery lived in fear that they might be sought by masters who often posted monetary offers for the return of runaway slaves
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  • Black Laws Limiting ability to vote Segregation of housing, schools, transportation, employment
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  • Black Laws cont.. Most white northerners wanted no contact with Blacks Felt Blacks were inferior, dishonest, immoral lives Feared Black competition for jobs Contact would degrade Black society
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  • Segregation Atmosphere of hate caused African Americans to distrust white people Ghettos Boston ~ Nigger Hill Cincinnati ~ Little Africa Southern visitors argued blacks better off as slaves
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  • Segregation In 1841, the term Jim Crow was used in Mass to describe railroad cars Blackface minstrel act
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  • Black Communities: The Urban North Urban neighborhoods Resilient families Poverty Class divisions Church and volunteer organizations Education
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  • Black Communities: The Urban North (cont.) Black family Variety Two-parent households common in 1820 Single-parent trend became increasingly common Headed by women High male mortality rate Employment opportunities Extended families
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  • Black Communities: The Urban North (cont.) Employment Rising European immigration filled jobs Young black men excluded from apprenticeships Led to deskilling of blacks Menial labor Low wages Unemployment common
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  • Black Communities: The Urban North (cont.) Black elite Ministers, doctors, lawyers, and undertakers Carpenters, barbers, waiters, and coachman Black institutions and culture Anti-slavery movement Racial justice Bridge to sympathetic white people
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  • African-American Institutions First appeared during the revolutionary era, then increased and multiplied. 1. Schools (Lincoln University) 2. Mutual aid organizations (Black Odd Fellows) 3. Benevolent and fraternal organizations 4. Newspapers and journals 5. Theaters
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  • Free Blacks: The Upper South Greater risk of being enslaved An assumption of slavery in most states Problems traveling, congregating, owning firearms Greater exclusion than northern counterparts Hotels, trains, parks, hospitals, etc.
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  • Free Blacks: The Upper South (cont.) Employment Urban areas before 1850 Less competition from European immigrants Most free black men were unskilled laborers or waiters Most free black women washed clothes or worked as domestic servants Schools No racial integration and no public funding Most black children received no formal education Churches and individuals provided sporadic opportunities
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  • Free Blacks: The Deep South No revolutionary rhetoric nor changing economy Fewer manumissions Usually mixed-race children Three-caste system in Deep South Whites, free blacks, and slaves Strong ties between free blacks and former masters Loans, jobs, and protection cemented this bond Better off economically than free black people in other regions Half live in cities Stronger position in skilled trades Increased conflict and tension among white skilled workers
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  • Conclusion Life for free black people in the Upper and Deep South more difficult than in the North Presumption of slavery More restrictive laws