Creating a Free Black Community in New York during the Era of Emancipation

in In the Shadow of Slavery

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780226317748
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226317755 | DOI:
Creating a Free Black Community in New York during the Era of Emancipation

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The War of 1812 was a high point in black cross-class support of the various forms of the free black urban presence. Occurring in the midst of the emancipation process, this war seemed to bring more opportunity for blacks to prove their worth than had the Revolutionary War. The passage of a new state law soon after the end of the war, which guaranteed emancipation in 1827 to all slaves born before July 4, 1799, seemed to signify that New York's blacks had indeed proven themselves worthy of full citizenship. Although New York's 1799 gradual emancipation law freed no adult slaves and gave freedom to the children of slaves only after a lengthy indenture, slaves throughout New York State saw the law as a sign that whites recognized black people's rights to freedom.

Keywords: free black community; New York City; emancipation; full citizenship; right to freedom; slaves

Chapter.  9646 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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