Sale of Free Negroes

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nc native

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I've never seen a notice like this before. These were free blacks who owed back taxes. Did they regain their freedom once they worked off their tax debt?
 
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Pat Young

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GS

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How can a slave owe tax money? That's one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in my life.
It appears these are freemen, not slaves any longer. The taxes seem to indicate that they were landowners. If that was the case, they were likely being hired out for wages to pay their land taxes. It is difficult to discern and judge the issue, having no more than this clipping for evidence.
 

ntsb

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Hello Pat,
Curious - why so many posts about slaves with no discussion of the civil war? Are you trying to make a point about slavery? We all know it was and is wrong. Respectfully trying to understand your passionate views.
 
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major bill

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These are interesting. We ads run for the sale of free whites? I wonder if free whites that had not paid their city taxes were also sold?
 

johan_steele

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Hello Pat,
Curious - why so many posts about slaves with no discussion of the civil war? Are you trying to make a point about slavery? We all know it was and is wrong. Respectfully trying to understand your passionate views.
Slavery was integral within a few miles of where every Civil War battle was fought. Slaves fled to US lines en masse at every opportunity. Black people were a significant part of the population in the CS. Too many like to pretend black people weren't southern or weren't even there so their opinions and conditions aren't worth talking about. I'm glad Pat works to remedy that.
 
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Pat Young

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Hello Pat,
Curious - why so many posts about slaves with no discussion of the civil war? Are you trying to make a point about slavery? We all know it was and is wrong. Respectfully trying to understand your passionate views.
Hi ntsb. Thanks for your question. As slavery was central to the Civil War, I believe it essential to understand all aspects of slavery, (much of it has not been covered in-depth until recently). I spend fifteen hours each week reading newspapers from the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s. When I find articles that I think will be useful to our fellow members I post them. I appreciate for your interest.
 
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lelliott19

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I do wonder if whites were sold then.
I'm curious about the title of the newspaper article. Like so many these days, seems to be selected for "shock value." I guess it sold newspapers back then...kind of like the National Enquirer.

If you read the complete article, you find that no one was being "sold." Their labor was being sold in order to satisfy a debt. It was not a unique situation; it happened in other cities during that time-frame. Here's a similar example I found in Evansville, IN. Not an auction for the labor, but in this case, those who failed to pay their city taxes, and whose debt was unable to be satisfied by the seizure and sale of property, were required to perform forced labor with a ball and chain. Seems this kind of thing was pretty common. Our ancestors were evidently much more likely to use corporal punishment to enforce "ordinances," including city taxes, than we are today.
1549512723614.png

The Evansville Daily Journal., February 20, 1858, page 3.
 

Pat Young

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I'm curious about the title of the newspaper article. Like so many these days, seems to be selected for "shock value." I guess it sold newspapers back then...kind of like the National Enquirer.
Both articles are in Southern newspapers. There is no reason to think anyone found this shocking. This was a commercial report, not an abolitionist expose. Neither paper was the "National Enquirer" of its day.

Both articles refer to the racial exclusivity of the sales.
 

damYankee

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Was there any attempts to sell the services of free whites who owed taxes?
 
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lelliott19

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Was there any attempts to sell the services of free whites who owed taxes?
Possibly...but in the example I posted above, from Evansville IN, they just assigned them to manual labor on public works with a ball and chain.
There is no reason to think anyone found this shocking.
Unfortunately, I think you're right. Seems it was commonplace for corporal punishment - including forced labor - to be used to enforce laws.
 

Pat Young

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Possibly...but in the example I posted above, from Evansville IN, they just assigned them to manual labor on public works with a ball and chain.
Forced labor has not been an unknown part of American penal practices. I think that the selling of free blacks, as it is characterized is a different and racially determined practice. I have not, however, studied this so I am open to other info and interpretation.
 
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