Pre-Civil War Free Blacks Owned Slaves. Is that significant?

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The first ever survey of antebellum black slaveowners in the United States was published by prominent black historian Carter G. Woodson in 1924. There are many resources to be found on this subject, though they don't show up frequently in contemporary discussions.
 

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jgoodguy

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Pp. in Outlook: 107-114.
Thanks, I looked but I did not see passages supporting your assertion. A quote or 2 might help to understand your position.

I did find a quote by Frederick Law Omstead, but not in the context of your post.
P114

In Maryland these beneficial organizations were especially exempt from the general prohibition against public meetings of free colored people. In other places in the Southern States there was no such exemption, and, although the law was usually got around in some way or other, not infrequently members of these organizations were arrested, fined, and sometimes sent to prison. Frederick Law Olmsted records one such instance in Washington, D. C., in the first chapter of his "Journey in the Seaboard Slave States."​
He says(Note that free blacks can be locked up just for meeting together)​
The colored population voluntarily sustain several, churches, schools, and mutual assistance and improvement societies, and there are evidently persons among them of no in considerable cultivation of mind. Among the police reports of the city newspapers, there was lately (April, 1855) an account of the apprehension of twenty-four " genteel colored men " (so they were described) who had been found by a watchman assembling privately in the evening, and been lodged in the watch-house. The object of their meeting appears to have been purely benevolent, and, when they were examined before a magistrate in the morning, no evidence was offered, nor does there seem to have been any suspicion that they had any criminal purpose. On searching their persons, there were found a Bible, a volume of Seneca's " Morals," " Life in Earnest," the printed constitution of a society the object of which was said to be "to relieve the sick and bury the dead," and a subscription paper " to purchase the freedom of Eliza Howard," a young woman, whom her owner was willing to sell at $650. I can think of nothing that would speak higher for the character of a body of poor men, servants and laborers, than to find, by chance, in their pockets just such things as these.1

Nothing contributed more to keep the free Negroes from making greater advancement than they did during the period of slavery than the fact that they were not allowed to organize and unite their efforts for their own improvement in any large way. On the other hand, nothing has more prevented and held back the progress of the colored people since slavery than the fact that they have had to learn how to unite their efforts in order to improve their condition.​


 

jgoodguy

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The first ever survey of antebellum black slaveowners in the United States was published by prominent black historian Carter G. Woodson in 1924. There are many resources to be found on this subject, though they don't show up frequently in contemporary discussions.
That reference is in this thread, along with a discussion of limitations of using 1830 census data.
 
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"Of the free colored people of Louisiana, of whom there were a very considerable number before the war, many were slaveholders and large owners of land. There were a number of settlements of Creole Negroes, as they were called, in various parts of Louisiana. When Frederick Law Olmsted visited that State in 1853, he visited one of these settlements in the neighborhood of Natchitoches. The information which he obtained in regard to these people was to the effect that they were 'honest and industrious and paid their debts quite as promptly as the white planters, and were, as far as any one could judge, good citizens in all respects.' One of them, he learned, had lately spent $40,000 in a lawsuit, and it is believed that they were increasing in wealth. Several of these colored planters were worth four or five hundred thousand dollars. The little town of Washington, near Opelousas, in St. Landry Parish, was formerly called Negroville, from the number of free Negroes living in that village. A number of them, according to Olmsted, were wealthy and thriving. They owned some of the best cotton and sugar plantations. 'An intelligent man whom I met at Washington,' he said, 'who had been traveling most of the time for two years in the plantation districts, told me that the free Negroes in the State in general, so far as he had observed, were equal in all respects to the white Creoles. Much the larger part of them were poor, thriftless, unambitious, and lived wretchedly, but there were many opulent, intelligent, and educated. The best house and most tasteful grounds that he had visited in the State had belonged to a nearly full-blooded Negro–a very dark man. He and his family were well educated, and, though French in their habitual tongue, they spoke English with a liberal tongue, and one much more eloquent than most of the liberally educated whites. They had a private tutor in their family, and owned, he thought, a hundred and fifty slaves.' It is near here, in the adjoining parish of St. Martin, that my friend Paul Chretien lived. His father was a free colored man who made his money in the neighborhood of Calcasieu, but afterward returned to St. Martin and built himself a beautiful home there, in which his son, whose name I have mentioned, is now living...."

Booker T. Washington
 

byron ed

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...I've seen discussions of the significance of the fact that before the Civil War some free blacks owned black slaves. To me the numbers involved are so small it seems insignificant, but maybe I'm missing something. ...The census of 1830 lists 3,775 free Negroes who owned a total of 12,760 slaves
If this seems counter-intuitive or shocking, it is only because of our ingrained tendency to stereotype; that which "enlightened" modern whites of "politically-correct" and "diverse" predilection pretend they don't do, but that the rest of us realistically realize is ingrained in us from our upbringing.

Such stereotyping (let's be honest, it's a mild form of racism) shows itself in projecting that African-Americans, negroes in period parlance, tended to be commonly of one mind or heart somehow, that the race didn't have the human trait of individual variability. Yet we know that of course they were as we are, of varied and even opposing views and acts. So please no more shock or claims attached to finding out what some blacks did or didn't do back in the day*



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*To bring this up should, but won't, put an end here to discussions on "black confederates," "black Africans kidnapping black Africans," "loyal slaves in the South dedicated to Massa," "former slaves longing for their ole' plantation home," "American slavery the best thing that could happen to a tribal African," "slavery was better that Northern urban feudalism" or "it was a Christian slaveowners' mission to save heathen souls."

Too often those are used as prelude (the second shoe drop) to "justify" that "the war wasn't about slavery, you know" which is intended to mean that (third shoe dropping?) "secession and the Confederacy were rightful causes, son" ...so transparent.
 
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