Free To An Extent : A Look At The Lives Of Freed Nothern Blacks In Colonial America History Research Paper

2586 words - 11 pages

America’s colonial period was an interesting and introspective period for African
Americans. While still contained by the shackles of slavery, they still managed to be outspoken
out their circumstances and the living conditions in which they were subject to. Their ability to
express their ideas, however, was stifled by the geographical location they lived in. African
Americans who lived in the South were still shackled by the oppressive regulations of the slavery
system put into place decades before, and while slavery was not legal in the Northern regions of
The United States, they still faced forms of discrimination regulated more by societal standard
then legal oppressive regulations. The lives of freed blacks and enslaved blacks drastically
differed in many ways during the colonial period, but in some ways still were parallel. Northern
Blacks faced blatant and indiscernible racism during this time period, and many of the societal
hurdles and snares had and still have lasting effects on African Americans today.
Free Northern black’s ad many societal advantages over their southern counterparts,
having many allowances and opportunities that would have never been afforded to an enslaved
human. “Although their lives were circumscribed by numerous discriminatory laws even in the
colonial period, freed African Americans, especially in the North, were active participants in
American society. Black men enlisted as soldiers and fought in the American Revolution (
though many fought on the side of the British). Some owned land, homes, businesses, and paid
taxes. In some Northern cities, for brief periods of time, black property owners voted. A very
small number of free blacks owned slaves. The slaves that most free blacks purchased were
relatives whom they later manumitted. A few free blacks also owned slave holding plantations in
Louisiana, Virginia, and South Carolina.”1
The Progression of life for this group was due to the fact that slavery had not hindered
their societal progression or state of living. African American’s in the North were not affected by
the yolk of slavery, but they still faced the same discrimination of their southern brethren, if only
to a less severe and blatant level, “Freed blacks in the north were assumed to be better off, but
what is commonly unknown, they were discriminated against as much as blacks in the lower and
upper south. They too didn’t have full rights, nor could they own land in some parts and on very
rare occasions they could possibly try a case against someone. Rarely was this person white.
The north was partially free it varied from state to state what rights they had and did not. It is a
misconception to believe that freemen in the north were equal to whites. Many northern whites
were just as prejudice towards them as southerners were. ”2
This system of oppression was one of the precursors for the societal and systematic
racism still seen in felt in today’s American society. African Americans were...

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