The Status of Free African Americans in Northern and Southern Society Flashcards Preview

HIST 300: African American History (Slavery) > The Status of Free African Americans in Northern and Southern Society > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Status of Free African Americans in Northern and Southern Society Deck (17)
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1

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

- part of the compromise struck by the South + North involving slavery in the new territory the US acquired in the Mexican-American War

- put more restrictions + punishment on slaves (especially fugitive slaves)

- fugitive slaves can't testify + no trial by jury + guilt is assumed + posse can be called against them

- anyone found to be aiding fugitive slaves would be fined $100 + thrown in jail for 6 months

- judges compensated more for ruling in favor of slave owner

- act was retroactive (no longer mattered where/when they were a fugitive slave they could be taken back at any time)

2

Effects of Fugitive Slave Act

- heightens sectional tensions w/ kidnappings becoming more common among free blacks

- many blacks begin to migrate to Canada even more

- caused many free blacks to reexamine whether immigration was a viable alternative

- some Northern black leaders encouraged armed resistance against new act (including Frederick Douglass)

- gave the illusion of sectional peace (southern wishes had been granted) (would be shattered repeatedly)

- ex = publishing of Uncle Tom's cabin depicted a much harsher view of slavery than what Southerners generally accepted

3

Free Blacks

- have always been part of American society (during colonial + slave era)

- most lived in the shadow of plantations + slavery (known to many historians as quasi free blacks (not really slaves but not free either)

- 1826 = free blacks in Baltimore sent petition to white countrymen

- most free blacks segregated under law (second class citizens)

- occupied inferior status between whites + slaves

- many struggled to earn a living + find housing + educate children + escape violence

- presence of free blacks disturbed whites both in the North + South

- freedom did not mean equality + equal opportunity in jobs/schools/housing

4

Sources of Free blacks population

- manumissions = included private manumission where owners felt oral disregard for institution of slavery

- some masters troubled by living in society where both freedom and slavery exist

- public manumission = legal abolition of slavery in North + freedom granted to black people who served in American Revolution

- Southern states even liberalized slaves that fought after Revolution

- natural increases = children born from free black parents + mulatto children from white/black women + children born from Indian black relationships

- some slaves able to purchase freedom during Revolutionary era

- some slaves took there masters to court to petition for freedom

- some slaves just ran away from plantations to the North

5

Whites Thoughts on Free Blacks

- most Americans view free blacks negatively (strong consensus among whites in favor of white supremacy

- free blacks seen as part of a degraded class (widespread agreement nationally that all blacks were intellectually + physically inferior - similar to Jefferson beliefs)

- fearful of giving blacks more legal rights
- thought blacks had much less initiative than whites

- most whites thought these differences in blacks vs whites were permanent/would take centuries for blacks to catch up

- miscegenation strongly frowned upon (thought it would lead to a tainting of white race)

- most believed racial prejudice was natural + logical response to black people

- thought a biracial egalitarian society was either completely impossible/would only be achieved in the very distant future

- subordination of blacks was a widespread belief even among white abolitionists (just wanted to end slavery but didn't like blacks)

- free blacks viewed as social danger (menace to society) (responsible for most of the crime + disorder in American society)

- even abolitionists felt that blacks were "degraded + vicious"

- served as arguments against large scale emancipation of blacks

- white Northerners afraid mass emancipation would lead to mass migration of blacks to North (take away jobs) (become a depraved population)

- Federal Census (1840) - falsely revealed free blacks had much higher rate of insanity than slaves (10x higher) (swayed some public opinions)

- gave credence + comfort + cause for their mistreatment of free black population

- strain of true freedom "too much for blacks to handle"

- stupid belief that free black men are a danger to white women (danger of miscegenation - even though most miscegenation came from white masters raping slave women)

6

Sambo

Uncle Tom

- southerners buy into this image b/c they want this image of slavery to be portrayed to the world as a positive

7

Mulattos in Lousiana

- many came over from West Indies as mulatto children

- highly privileged class

- largest black slave owners in US were in LA

- see themselves as intermediate class between blacks + whites

- educated + speak French/English/Spanish fluently

- many able to pass for white

- since they arrive before Americans able to settle LA, they're able to form free black militias (called upon multiple times to defend LA from Indians + European adversaries)

- b/c they're able to form free black militias they even have the authority to punish white men

8

Free Black Pop.

- MA + VA had largest free black populations

9

Free Blacks in the South

- most of them stayed in the South (family + familiarity + most are unskilled so can't get jobs in the North)

- most Southern free blacks lived + worked on the margins of Southern economy (faced restrictions + competition from white/slave workers)

- most were pushed into poverty (small % made comfortable living)

- most lived in countryside as farmers

- 1860 = 75% of all NC blacks lived as farm hands

- black landowners typically owned subsistence farms (could not compete w/ large white landowners)

- some blacks in South worked in urban areas as railroad workers

- free black women also worked in the field + as domestic workers (similar jobs they worked as slaves)

- very few free black women worked as skilled workers (most skilled free black women worked as bath workers)

- those free blacks that lived in coastal areas worked as fishermen + whalers (Paul Cuffey) + as stewards on ships

- urban free blacks had greater freedom + higher wages

- in some cities 50% of adult free black males worked in factories (metal + tobacco + paper mill)

- some cities free black artisans dominated skilled trades (Charleston, SC free blacks dominate millright trade + almost half of all tailors in SC)

- elite black artisans socialized w/ one another w/ their children attending the same schools + attending the same churches (made up the elite of black society)

- elite black societies segregated by skin color

- free blacks in Lower South better off than Upper South (had more entrenched positions)

- free blacks in SC/GA/LA had closer ties to upper class whites (would protect you from unfair competitions + were patrons of free black businesses)

- manumissions in Lower South were more selective (meant masters more invested in success of former slaves)

- most free blacks in South worked in poorly paid positions

- some had contracts w/ whites to provide services for food + clothing + nominal wages (some could last decades) (many ended up in debt peonage)

- some blacks forced back into temporary slavery since they were unable to pay fines + taxes + jail terms

- apprenticeship laws worked to detriment of many free blacks (very cheap form of labor in Southern states)

- whites used apprenticeship laws to get blacks + whites + women + children to work for cheap

- some southern states removed provisions allowing free blacks to read + write

- black children generally apprenticed to the most menial of positions (picking tobacco/cotton etc.

- immigration of Irish/Germans into Southern states into 1830s hurt economic position of free blacks (now even more competition)

- whites found it more preferable to hire white immigrants than free blacks (whites slowly replacing blacks in certain industries like heavy manual labor)

- certain jobs in Southern cities become synonymous for free blacks (most important was barber trade)

- some of wealthiest free blacks in South were black barbers (not physically demanding + paid well especially if one's clients were white + didn't take a lot of capital to own a barber shop)

- the most successful free blacks earned a living serving white clients exclusively (didn't mix clientele)

- William Johnson (black barber) in Naches, MS - freed by petition of owner - mulatto - disassociated himself from most free blacks in city unless they were of same class

- Johnson - opened barber shop + very successful/respected in white community - ended up buying property + slaves

- Northern free blacks consistently competed against poor white immigrants (specifically Irish) (fewer immigrants in the South so an advantage)

10

Free Black Housing

- had some of worst housing in country

- most in countryside usually squatted on shacks on small plots of land no one wanted

- others built isolated shacks tucked away from main road

- by 1830 at least 25% of free blacks in VA lived w/ white employers (common in the South)

- quite common in South for white employers to house black field hands + black slaves

- a disadvantage of living w/ whites is less autonomy

- sometimes free blacks would form small villages

- SC required all free blacks to pay capitation tax (essentially a poll tax) (used as an incentive for free blacks to work)

- faced residential segregation in the North (no so much in South)

- segregation + economic exploitation in North would be the foundation of the future black ghetto (blacks excluded from white neighborhoods well into 20th century)

- Some of these like Little Africa in Cincinatti + Nigger Hill in Boston

- housing situation may be a big reason why free blacks in South didn't move North

- were the targets of a lot of violence from white immigrants in the North

- Alley Housing = common in both North + South (cheapest housing available in the city + in proximity to major employment centers for unskilled workers) (most residents uneducated + unskilled) (even if skilled unhighly they could compete)

- Alley Housing = essentially mini ghettos (generally concentrated in oldest sectors of the city) (overwhelmingly segregated by race)

11

Free Black Health

- had higher mortality rate than whites (2-3x)

- died of diseases like pneumonia + tuberculosis + malnutrition

- normally had a very unhealthy diet

- epidemics took serious toll on free blacks (suffer disproportionately in both the North + South)

- housing of Southern free blacks also poor but no black ghettos in South (blacks scattered throughout Southern cities + lived often w/ white employers)

- lived near railroads + rivers (areas that were loud + dirty + dangerous)

- residential segregation increasing by the Civil War in the South

12

Free Black Families

- most were two parent families despite poverty

- free black families were headed more by women than white families mainly due to the poverty but not much different than numbers seen in white families

- more black women worked outside of the home then white women

- free black families more likely to take in lodgers/relatives in order to help pull resources to pay bills

13

Education

- free blacks place their faith in changing their status through education

- view education as a means towards upward mobility

- way to improve their status not only in their own eyes but in the eyes of whites

- free black leaders thought obtaining an education would maybe convince whites they should be given right to vote (wouldn't happen)

- thought education would elevate their character + enhance their image

- free black leaders felt education would make differences in skin color irrelevant

- education + literacy the exception for blacks before Civil War

- most educated blacks had only a primary school education

- Puritans + Quakers took particular interest in the education of free blacks (specifically teaching them how to read the Bible)

- manumission socieites helped establish black schools (African Schools) across the North (schools that white philanthropists would donate to to educate blacks)

- black Church also took interest in education especially Methodists (set specific educational guidelines for its ministers)

- black Churches educated blacks mostly through Sunday Schools

- black churches would publish own newspapers like Christian Recorder

- free blacks more likely to obtain an education in the North (specifically New England than the South (fewer restrictive laws + more schools + more money being put into their school)

- elite blacks sent children to private schools and tutors at homes

14

Black Higher Education

- attempts for many blacks to enter higher education before Civil War was in vain (most not allowed to attend college in either North/South

- very few states provided public funds for blacks schools

- in instances where schools were established for black children even in the North they often met difficulty (ex: RI Quaker school was burned to the ground)

-

15

James McCune Smith

Prominent 19th century physician

- born a slave but freed at the age of 14

- fortunate enough to attend one of handful of free black schools in New York

- rejected from dozens of medical schools after undergrad (accepted to University of Glasgow in Scotland)

- lives in Scotland for 5 years where he gets 3 degrees

- was first university trained black physician in America

- establishes practice in New York + becomes involved in advancement of free blacks/slaves

- wrote widely in anti-slavery newspapers + part of several anti slavery orgs.

- huge advocate of moral reform (certain characteristics needed for black people to advance, specifically education)

- One of the earliest proponents of industrial education (joined w/ Frederick Douglass to establish a black industrial college -would never work)

- Smith believed blacks should receive both a liberal arts education + learn a trade (always give you the opportunity to be self reliant)

- strong proponent of race pride (preached race unity + self respect

- opposed colonization (saw it as devious scheme to rid US of blacks)

- shining example of black achievement

16

Martin Delaney

- would become foremost spokesperson for black emigration

- born of free mother + slave father

- moved to Pittsburgh in 19 to continue education under black minister

- after 5 years with minister he decided he wanted to study medicine (accepted to Harvard)

- white Harvard students try to terminate his education (succeed in getting faculty to kick him out)

- causes Delaney to become more militant + to devote more time to anti-slavery/immigration

- believes heavily in self sufficiency

- thought blacks must engage in a variety of economic opportunities for them to be respected by whites (must make a mark in their profession)

- organizes several national emigration conventions

- set up Niger Valley Exploring Company to find suitable place for blacks to settle in Africa (most blacks not interested)

- would later go on to become highest ranking black soldier in the Civil War attaining the rank of major and became an active recruiter of black soldiers

17

Free Black Institutions

- black elites = generally men (work in formal institutions w/in black community)

- churches + literary socieities + women socieities + schools

- Negro Convention Movement (1830-61) = was series of conventions where free black leaders would come together to debate + come up w/ strategies about abolition (all conventions held in North)

- Black Church = leading black institution (assisted blacks in gaining the right to vote + equal employment opportunities + right to an education + right to being considered a human being)

- church = where blacks developed leadership skills + engage in economic cooperation + where they could educate themselves + where they could gain fellowship/status/recognition w/ one another

- church - would be most dynamic/cohesive/effective of free black institutions

- free black church - united blacks from all classes

- blacks weren't welcome in many white churches in both North/South (so made their own separate churches)

North = Richard Allen

- born a slave + would join the Methodist Society at 17

- permitted to purchase freedom during American Revolution

- returned to Philly where joined white congregation of leading white church + eventually licensed to preach

- only permitted to hold services before the regular services arrived (congregation gained in size - disturbed white methodist)

- Allen would stage a walkout after mistreatment from white trustees + purchase lot of land to build own church known as African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) (known as Mother Bethel)

- becomes first black bishop in the US

- Mother Bethel would become independent organization away from white Methodists (autonomy of black church is very important to black community - can make its own choices)

- Mother Bethel was a waystation for the underground railroad + collected money for anti-slavery activities

- Baptist church would eventually overtake Methodists

South = free blacks faced way greater opposition in way of establishing church

- faced violence + formal legislative restrictions

- Southern lawmakers feared the establishment of a black church w/o white supervision (especially true after slave revolt)

- by late 1820s some Southern states prohibited meeting of black churches + banned black ministers from the pulpit (caused many black ministers to leave the South + church membership in South to dec.

- majority of black churches not abolished in South + continued to organize own congregations

- attempts to control black preachers typically failed (they could meet in secret in people's houses -didn't need formal building)

- whites began withdrawing from mixed congregations as black membership began inc. in 1830s

- Southern black churches largely confined to cities + more prominent in Upper South than Lower South

- Southern black churches also provided insurance + death benefits + organized community recreation/entertainment + aided poor in the community through missionary activity + strengthened black families by focusing on the sanctity of marriage

- black elites typically went to mixed churches + did not attend church w/ former slaves + many attended Catholic church especially in mulatto communities like New Orleans