Chapter

Free Blacks

Brenda E. Stevenson

in Life in Black and White

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780195118032
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853793 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118032.003.0011
Free Blacks

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The origins of the free colored community in Loudoun can be traced to the early 18th century settlers of the region. Later on, offspring of impoverished free men and women earned their freedom after a long “apprenticeship”, which was similar to servitude in terms of the physical and sexual abuse usually incurred. Upon emancipation, these ex-servants faced a challenging life of financial uncertainty and social discrimination. Still, these people enjoyed some basic rights, such as the freedom to earn a living and acquire property, the ability to purchase slaves—usually kin—and apply for the latter's manumission, and the freedom to travel. To escape the harsh life in the antebellum Southern town of Loudoun, some free men and women of color chose to move back to their homelands. However, success stories were few and far between and this has prevented significant repatriation. Most emancipated colored people chose eventually to settle in more hospitable communities in other states.

Keywords: freedom; colored community; Loudoun; apprenticeship; manumission; emancipated; antebellum; South

Chapter.  13378 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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