Was there an exodus of free Black people from the South on the eve of the Civil War.

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
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Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
That's very doubtful.
Thousands of new immigrants to the country turned out to be more loyal patriotic Americans than the disloyal native-born secessionists.
Actually they were the poorest of the lot. Loyal to what?

Plenty of evidence they did it for Financial Reasons. Bounties had to be raised to the point they would enlist. If they did it for the Cause, why did they charge so much?

So your analysis is a Myth
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Actually they were the poorest of the lot. Loyal to what?

Plenty of evidence they did it for Financial Reasons. Bounties had to be raised to the point they would enlist. If they did it for the Cause, why did they charge so much?

So your analysis is a Myth
Here is an excerpt from the diary of Sgt. Phillip Smith, a german immigrant in the 8th Missouri:

"I have left home and a good situation thrown all peaceful avocations aside and have grasped the weapon of death for the purpose of doing my part in defending and upholding the Integrity Laws and the preservation of my adopted County from a horse of Contemptible traitors, who would if they can accomplish their Hellish designs destroy the best and Noblest Government on Earth. Merely for the purpose of benefiting themselves on the slave question."​
“I am a young man. Am not of soldierly propensity, but one thing is sure I shall not lay down my musket until this Wicked Rebellion is subdued and the Seceded States brought back to allegiance. I also hope and pray that as the South is fighting for nothing in the World to perpetuate slavery, that not a single state shall be permitted to resume her place in the Union until she has rid herself of this damnable institution hanging to her skirts.”​
My analysis is just fine.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
One assumption about the US free blacks in 1860 is that the majority of them were in the states that seceded. But the information provided earlier in the thread shows that is not true. The majority of free blacks were in the loyal states in 1861.
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
It is amazing to me that in 2020, there are people who believe the maltreatment of free people of color in the North was equivalent to that of enslaved people in the South.

- Alan

I do not see that anyone is claiming such a thing.

As pointed out by @RobertP this thread is about free blacks and their migration or rather as it has turned out, their lack of migration to the north.
Why aren’t slavery discussions taken to the Slavery Talk forum? This topic is about the migration of free blacks.

As @uaskme has pointed out the Union States were no more welcoming of free blacks than the Confederate States and possibly a worse place for a free black to live.
The lack of migration showed that they had a home and chose to stay there and thereby continue to be part of their State and the Government that led it. There was nothing to stop them leaving but they simply did not want to as they were content as they could be where they were and that is a conscious decision not one of coercion or force.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
I do not see that anyone is claiming such a thing.
That is what @uaskme is implying when he says the North is as racist as the South. But if he believes that the maltreatment of free people of color in the North was not equivalent to that of enslaved people in the South, I'm sure he'll say so.

As @uaskme has pointed out the Union States were no more welcoming of free blacks than the Confederate States and possibly a worse place for a free black to live.
I myself have said the USA as a whole exhibited racial prejudice and that this affected black migration even before the war.

The lack of migration showed that they had a home and chose to stay there and thereby continue to be part of their State and the Government that led it. There was nothing to stop them leaving but they simply did not want to as they were content as they could be where they were and that is a conscious decision not one of coercion or force.
If people are having a gunfight and it spills into my backyard; and I stay in my house and don't try to intervene; that doesn't mean I'm content with that, or that I approve of or choose to have a gunfight on my property. Nothing is stopping me from leaving my house, and I might even have a bulletproof vest and gun, but I realize it's safer to stay inside.

If I'm a free black southerner, and white people in the South and North are ready to have a war, and I decide not to migrate to the North, that doesn't mean that I approve of what either region is doing. Nothing is stopping me from leaving, but why should I bother? Inertia is not a sign of contentment. If moving North doesn't offer me better prospects, there's no reason to leave, even if my present situation stinks and has me discontented. It's really that simple. This idea of "contentment" is not reasonable to me.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

- Alan
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Nobody was as racist as the ones who owned, worked, beat, lynched, and raped blacks.
Northerners Murdered, Lynched and raped Native Americans. Yankees in Blue, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Yellow Hair tried to Exterminate them. Led a Race War against Natives. All Post and during the CW. Like Sherman said, no good Indian but a Dead one.

Murdered Chinese who came in economic conflict with White Labor. Then Excluded them.

Northerners excluded Blacks. WI had less than 1/2 of 1% Black population. North Had only a 1% Black population. Refused to live with them. Hoped that freeing Southern Blacks that Northern Blacks would go back home, to the South.

Blacks dangled from the Lamp Pole in NYC, during the draft riots and during Gordon's Trial. So angry a White man was being Tried for Slave Trading they Lynched Blacks. Northerners loved their Slave Traders. Yankee Slave Traders, Most Brutal acts of inhumanity displayed in Human History. Up until and even during the Civil War, trafficked Blacks and Coolies.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Northerners excluded Blacks. WI had less than 1/2 of 1% Black population. North Had only a 1% Black population. Refused to live with them. Hoped that freeing Southern Blacks that Northern Blacks would go back home, to the South.
Not true at all. This thread is about free blacks, and according to the information posted earlier in the thread, Wisconsin had more free blacks than Mississippi or Texas. Illinois had more free blacks than Tennessee.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Northerners Murdered, Lynched and raped Native Americans. Yankees in Blue, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Yellow Hair tried to Exterminate them. Led a Race War against Natives. All Post and during the CW. Like Sherman said, no good Indian but a Dead one.

Murdered Chinese who came in economic conflict with White Labor. Then Excluded them.

Northerners excluded Blacks. WI had less than 1/2 of 1% Black population. North Had only a 1% Black population. Refused to live with them. Hoped that freeing Southern Blacks that Northern Blacks would go back home, to the South.

Blacks dangled from the Lamp Pole in NYC, during the draft riots and during Gordon's Trial. So angry a White man was being Tried for Slave Trading they Lynched Blacks. Northerners loved their Slave Traders. Yankee Slave Traders, Most Brutal acts of inhumanity displayed in Human History. Up until and even during the Civil War, trafficked Blacks and Coolies.
Why aren’t slavery discussions taken to the Slavery Talk forum? This topic is about the migration of free blacks.

Why indeed?
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
Northerners excluded Blacks. WI had less than 1/2 of 1% Black population. North Had only a 1% Black population. Refused to live with them. Hoped that freeing Southern Blacks that Northern Blacks would go back home, to the South.

Not true at all. This thread is about free blacks, and according to the information posted earlier in the thread, Wisconsin had more free blacks than Mississippi or Texas. Illinois had more free blacks than Tennessee.

This is the earlier information:
African American Population, 1860:
new-free-black-population-1860-census-jpg-jpg.jpg


Legend: F = Free State, S = Slave/Confederate State, SB = Slave-Border/Union State, T = Territory.
Sources: Historical Census Browser, from the University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center: http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/ – Retrieved 2014 (note that, the numbers at the site have changed in very small amounts since then); The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union (Appendix A), by James M. McPherson
The states that formed the Confederacy had 132,760 free blacks. The free states had 225,224 free blacks. The Border/Union Slave States (DE, KY, MD, MO) and DC had 129,158 free blacks. After secession, the majority of free blacks lived in Union states, and the majority of those persons lived in the North. I don't know how one can say "Northerners excluded Blacks", it ignores the existence of 225,000 people.

- Alan
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
If I'm a free black southerner, and white people in the South and North are ready to have a war, and I decide not to migrate to the North, that doesn't mean that I approve of what either region is doing. Nothing is stopping me from leaving, but why should I bother? Inertia is not a sign of contentment. If moving North doesn't offer me better prospects, there's no reason to leave, even if my present situation stinks and has me discontented. It's really that simple. This idea of "contentment" is not reasonable to me.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

- Alan

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

I understand that the use of contentment is not reasonable to you but if they were discontent then why not migrate? Ergo, if not discontent then must be content.

I'm sure if I was in a situation where I was not content I would move (as I recently did a few years ago even though laws were in place to hinder me from doing just that [long story I will not bore you with]).
If I was in a State that had become part of a new nation that I felt discriminated against me more than the country of which it had been a part (simply because of the colour of my skin) I'd gather up my family and be on the road out of there.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

I understand that the use of contentment is not reasonable to you but if they were discontent then why not migrate? Ergo, if not discontent then must be content.

I'm sure if I was in a situation where I was not content I would move (as I recently did a few years ago even though laws were in place to hinder me from doing just that [long story I will not bore you with]).
If I was in a State that had become part of a new nation that I felt discriminated against me more than the country of which it had been a part (simply because of the colour of my skin) I'd gather up my family and be on the road out of there.
I'm sure it's easy to imagine what you would do, when you're not in their shoes. And easy to presume all the factors in their decisions.

A primary source, written by the actual people involved, would be more helpful.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

I understand that the use of contentment is not reasonable to you but if they were discontent then why not migrate? Ergo, if not discontent then must be content.

I'm sure if I was in a situation where I was not content I would move (as I recently did a few years ago even though laws were in place to hinder me from doing just that [long story I will not bore you with]).
If I was in a State that had become part of a new nation that I felt discriminated against me more than the country of which it had been a part (simply because of the colour of my skin) I'd gather up my family and be on the road out of there.
RE: "but if they were discontent then why not migrate?"... you've already answered this question.

I think we both agree, it makes no sense for somebody to migrate unless they know they are going to a better life. YOU have noted that the conditions in the country as a whole were bad for black people. Thus, you have stated the reason why they would not move: they would simply be going from one discontenting place to another... what is the benefit in that?

Even if there was profit, that doesn't mean it tenable. Some number of free blacks had wives, parents, or other family members who were enslaved, and they weren't going to abandon them. Some were in all free families who depended much on each family member to make it. Free blacks were not as financially well off as free whites, and needed family support.

Main thing is, free blacks did not see the North as a racial utopia in which they thrive after leaving their homes, families, communities, and everything to start a new life.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

Major
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Location
District of Columbia
From the book Slaves Without Masters: the Free Negro in the Antebellum South by Ira Berlin; sorry for typos:

Pages 54-55: This concerns African-Americans who were freed from slavery from the 1790s-1810s; speaks to the desire to stay near loved ones:

Fleeing the memory of servitude, looking for new opportunities, searching for loved ones, free Negros moved in all directions. Many went to the north, some immigrated to Canada or Haiti, and a few found their way back to Africa. Yet, most of those who abandoned the place of their enslavement remained in the South. Lonely and fearful, some returned to their old neighborhoods, where they had friends and relatives. Others continued to wander aimlessly, living off the land while searching for a new life...​
Most migrating free Negroes chose their destination with care. Many sought out loved ones in the hope of reconstructing shattered families and sharing the exhilaration of liberty. Some free blacks, like whites, search for new opportunities in the west, but more often free Negroes look to the expanding urban frontier...​
Cities, where the relative anonymity of urban life added and provided an added measure of liberty, were the most important refuge from the memory of plantation slavery... Although cities added police and passed special ordinances to curb this unwanted migration, urban free Negroes increased in numbers more rapidly than did the free Negro caste generally. While the free Negro population of Virginia more than doubled between 1790 and 1810, that of Richmond increased almost fourfold and that of Norfolk tenfold. Similar tales could be told of Charleston and Savannah, but the rise of Baltimore is free Negro cast was the most spectacular.​
Migration, no matter how tempting, was never easy. For many newly freed blacks it meant abandoning enslaved loved ones. The bonds of kinship made newly liberated blacks reluctant to leave without their families and friends.​

- Alan
 
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