Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-10-24 17:28Z by Steven

Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Bright Lights Film Journal
Issue May 2013 (2013-04-30)
10 pages

Angela Aleiss, Full Time Lecturer, Information Systems
California State University, Long Beach

James Young Deer, 1909, at Bison

The Mysterious Identity of the Pathè Producer Finally Comes to Light

“With his acting experience and technical know-how, Young Deer soon advanced to one of Pathé’s leading filmmakers. His Indian identity served him well: no one in the cast or crew at that time would have taken orders from a black man.”

Few in Hollywood knew that James Young Deer, general manager of Pathé Frères West Coast Studio from 1911 to 1914, was really an imposter. After all, Young Deer had earned a reputation as the first Native American producer and had worked alongside D. W. Griffith, Fred J. Balshofer, and Mack Sennett. As one of Hollywood’s pioneer filmmakers, Young Deer oversaw the production of more than 100 one-reel silent Westerns for Pathé, the world’s largest production company with an American studio in Edendale in Los Angeles.

Young Deer was married to Lillian St. Cyr, a Winnebago Indian from Nebraska known as “Princess Red Wing” and star of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 classic The Squaw Man. He boasted of a full-blooded Winnebago heritage similar to his wife: his birthplace became Dakota City, Nebraska, and his father was “Green Rainbow” from the Winnebago reservation. He claimed he attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, the first off-reservation Indian boarding school.

In a 2010 BBC Radio 3 segment, “James Young Deer: The Winnebago Film-Maker,” no one — including this author — could unscramble Young Deer’s murky past. Young Deer was elusive, and a search in his background leads to a maze of contradictions and discrepancies. But after ten months of poking through dusty archives and faded vital records and tracking down Lillian’s relatives, the identity of this mysterious filmmaker finally came to light. His real name: James Young Johnson, born about April 1, 1878, in Washington, D.C., to mulatto parents George Durham Johnson and Emma Margaret Young.

“If Young Deer claimed to be Winnebago, he was lying to himself and others to promote himself,” says David Smith, Winnebago historian, author, and former director of Indian Studies at Little Priest Tribal College in Nebraska. Smith has heard endless stories about Young Deer’s supposed Winnebago heritage, and he’s had enough. His reaction is understandable: Native American identity is an especially sensitive issue, and no Indian tribe wants their name appropriated by some wannabe.

Little did anyone know that Young Deer’s true heritage lies hidden within the small mid-Atlantic community of whites, African Americans, and Native Americans once known as the “Moors of Delaware.” So secluded were these people that the late historian Clinton A. Weslager referred to them as “Delaware’s Forgotten Folk.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Delaware’s Forgotten Folk: The Story of the Moors and Nanticokes

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-06-03 13:29Z by Steven

Delaware’s Forgotten Folk: The Story of the Moors and Nanticokes

University of Pennsylvania Press
2006 (originally published in 1943)
232 pages
13 illustrations
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 9780812219838

C. A. Weslager (1909-1994)

Photographs by L. T. Alexander
Drawings by John Swientochowski

Delaware's Forgotten Folk

“It is offered not as a textbook nor as a scientific discussion, but merely as reading entertainment founded on the life history, social struggle, and customs of a little-known people.”—From the Preface

C. A. Weslager’s Delaware’s Forgotten Folk chronicles the history of the Nanticoke Indians and the Cheswold Moors, from John Smith’s first encounter with the Nanticokes along the Kuskakarawaok River in 1608, to the struggles faced by these uniquely multiracial communities amid the racial and social tensions of mid-twentieth-century America. It explores the legend surrounding the origin of the two distinct but intricately intertwined groups, focusing on how their uncommon racial heritage—white, black, and Native American—shaped their identity within society and how their traditional culture retained its significance into their present.

Weslager’s demonstrated command of available information and his familiarity with the people themselves bespeak his deep respect for the Moor and Nanticoke communities. What began as a curious inquiry into the overlooked peoples of the Delaware River Valley developed into an attentive and thoughtful study of a distinct group of people struggling to remain a cultural community in the face of modern opposition. Originally published in 1943, Delaware’s Forgotten Folk endures as one of the fundamental volumes on understanding the life and history of the Nanticoke and Moor peoples.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. Red, White, and Black
  • 2. The Mysterious Moor
  • 3. Plot in the Swamp
  • 4. The Persistent Red Thread
  • 5. An Unexpected Champion
  • 6. The Good Fight
  • 7. A World Unknown
  • 8. Links with the Past
  • Bibliography
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Interracial Delaware couple ignores critics for nearly 50 years

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-14 17:42Z by Steven

Interracial Delaware couple ignores critics for nearly 50 years

Delaware Online

Margie Fishman

Sara and Pat Aldrich of Lewes. They got married the day after the Supreme Court legalized mixed-race marriages. Jason Minto/The News Journal

She grew up in the northwest corner of Missouri, a blip on the map, where you could afford to be color blind because the only “person of color” was an elderly black woman who would slip into church and make a hasty exit before the benediction.

He grew up near prestigious Yale University, the son of domestics who saw his parents three times (in a good week), and was one of three black kids in his high school graduating class, always on the social periphery.

They might never have met, though they nearly crossed paths several times during their young adult years. Even if they had met then, strident objections against mixing races would’ve filled the background, contaminating their relationship before it had a chance to blossom.

But Sara Beth Kurtz, a shy, determined dancer, and Vince “Pat” Collier Aldrich Jr., a medical records specialist who listened to his gut and to the occasional opera, did meet in 1965 in a sleepy German village — courtesy of the United States military…

Read the entire article here.

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History Matters: Nanticoke tribe seeks to sustain its identity

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-12-20 00:02Z by Steven

History Matters: Nanticoke tribe seeks to sustain its identity

Delaware Public Media: Delaware’s source for NPR News
WDDE 91.1, Dover
WMPH 91.7, Wilmington

Anne Hoffman, Youth Producer and General Assignment Reporter

History Matters examines the Nanticoke Tribe of Delaware’s fight to maintain its identity.

They’re called Delaware’s Forgotten Folks.

In the second part of a two-part History Matters – produced in conjunction with the Delaware Historical Society, we continue our in-depth look at the Nanticoke Tribe.

“My name is William Daisey. And my Native American name is Thunder Eagle. And I’m chief of the Nanticoke Indian Tribe of Delaware.”

Chief Daisey was born in 1931 in Millsboro. Back then, he says, transportation was just “Model T’s” and “horse and buggies.” So the farming town in Southern Delaware where he grew up felt a million miles away from bustling Wilmington or even Dover.

“We were taught how to hunt, fish make bow and arrows, rabbit traps. We were taught which berries to pick, which fruit was edible,” said Daisey.

Families back then passed on what are called lifeway traditions, curing illnesses with old remedies and using Native American ways to gather more food than just that year’s harvest. From the time he could walk, Chief Daisey was learning…

Read or listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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History Matters: Delaware’s Forgotten Folks

Posted in Articles, Audio, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-12-19 23:07Z by Steven

History Matters: Delaware’s Forgotten Folks

Delaware Public Media: Delaware’s source for NPR News
WDDE 91.1, Dover
WMPH 91.7, Wilmington

Anne Hoffman, Youth Producer and General Assignment Reporter

History Matters examines the Levin Sockum case and its impact on the Nanticoke Tribe of Delaware

They’re called Delaware’s Forgotten Folks.

For the next two editions of History Matters – produced in conjunction with the Delaware Historical Society, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the Nanticoke Tribe. Part II is here.

They were one of the first tribes to meet Europeans back in 1608, and very soon after the tribe began to mix with Africans and whites.

Members of the Nanticoke tribe have fought a long battle to be fully recognized as Native Americans. They say that battle has been difficult.

Tribal members speak of what they call a paper genocide, pointing to early Census takers who were instructed to mark Nanticoke people as simply black or mixed race.

Perhaps the earliest instance of this paper genocide occurred during an 1855 court case that lives on in the memories of Nanticoke people today…

…And so what began as a simple case about selling gun shot became decisive in the destiny of the Nanticoke people.

“The question was, was he an Indian, or was he black? And the assessment was, if he were to be found that he were black or mulatto, then it would have been illegal for him to have made the sale. So it ended up being a racial trial,” says historian Gabrielle Tayac.

And here’s where things got a little crazy. The prosecution brought out an 87 year old woman named Lydia Clark. They argued that she was the last real Nanticoke, and that Levin Sockum could not be Nanticoke…

Read or listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware from the Colonial Period to 1810

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-01-06 07:07Z by Steven

Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware from the Colonial Period to 1810

Genealogical Publishing Company
392 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806350424

Paul Heinegg

As he did for Free Blacks in North Carolina and Virginia, Paul Heinegg has reconstructed the history of the free African American communities of Maryland and Delaware by looking at the history of their families.

Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware is a new work that will intrigue genealogists and historians alike. First and foremost, Mr. Heinegg has assembled genealogical evidence on more than 300 Maryland and Delaware black families (naming nearly 6,000 individuals), with copious documentation from the federal censuses of 1790-1810 and colonial sources consulted at the Maryland Hall of Records, county archives, and other repositories. No work that we know of brings together so much information on colonial African Americans except Mr. Heinegg’s earlier volume on Virginia and North Carolina. The author offers documentation proving that most of these free black families descended from mixed-race children who were the progeny of white women and African American men. While some of these families would claim Native American ancestry, Mr. Heinegg offers evidence to show that they were instead the direct descendants of mixed-race children.

Colonial Maryland laws relating to marriages between offspring of African American and white partners carried severe penalties. For example, one 18th-century statute threatened a white mother with seven years of servitude and promised to bind her mixed-race offspring until the age of thirty-one. Mr. Heinegg shows that, despite these harsh laws, several hundred child-bearing relationships in Delaware and Maryland took place over the colonial period as evidenced directly from the public record. Maryland families, in particular, which comprise the preponderance of those studied, also had closer relationships with the surrounding slave population than did their counterparts in Delaware, Virginia, or North Carolina. Mr. Heinegg recounts the circumstances under which a number of these freedmen were able to become landowners. Some Maryland families, however, including a number from Somerset County, chose to migrate to Delaware or Virginia, where the opportunities for land ownership were greater.

Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware is a work that will be sought after for its commentary on social history as for its genealogical content and methodology. No collection of African American history or genealogy can be without it.

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Census Bureau Reports Final 2010 Census Data for the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Mississippi, Texas, United States, Virginia on 2011-03-25 02:15Z by Steven

Census Bureau Reports Final 2010 Census Data for the United States

United States Census Bureau
Census 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics have been released for communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These data have provided the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census. With the release of data for all the states, national-level counts of these characteristics are now available.

For each state, the Census Bureau will provide summaries of population totals, as well as data on race, Hispanic origin and voting age for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts.

According to Public Law 94-171, the Census Bureau must provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following the census. As a result, the Census Bureau is delivering the data state-by-state on a flow basis. All states will receive their data by April 1, 2011.

Highlights by Steven F. Riley

  • The United States population (for apportionment purposes)  is 308,745,538. This represents a 9.71% increase over 2000.
  • The U.S. population including Puerto Rico is 312,471,327.  This represents a 9.55% increase over 2000.
  • The number of repondents (excluding Puerto Rico) checking two or more races (TOMR) is 9,009,073 or 2.92% of the population. This represents a 31.98% increase over 2000.
  • The number of repondents (including Puerto Rico) checking TOMR is 9,026,389 or 2.89% of the population.  This represents a 29.23% increase over 2000.
  • Hawaii has the highest TOMR response rate at 23.57%, followed by Alaska (7.30%), Oklahoma (5.90%) and California (4.87%).
  • California has the highest TOMR population at 1,815,384, followed by Texas (679,001), New York (585,849), and Florida (472,577).
  • Mississppi has the lowest TOMR response rate at 1.15%, followed by West Virginia (1.46%),  Alabama (1.49%) and Maine (1.58%).
  • Vermont has the lowest TOMR population at 10,753, followed by North Dakota (11,853), Wyoming (12,361) and South Dakota (17,283).
  • South Carolina has the highest increase in the TOMR response rate at 100.09%, followed by North Carolina (99.69%), Delaware (83.03%) and Georgia (81.71%).
  • New Jersey has the lowest increase in the TOMR response rate at 12.42%, followed by California (12.92%), New Mexico (16.11%), and Massachusetts (17.81%).
  • Puerto Rico has a 22.83% decrease in the TOMR response rate and New York has a 0.73% decrease in the TOMR response race.  No other states or territories reported decreases.
2010 Census Data for “Two or More Races” for States Above
# State Total Population Two or More Races (TOMR) Percentage Total Pop. % Change from 2000 TOMR % Change from 2000
1. Louisiana 4,533,372 72,883 1.61 1.42 51.01
2. Mississippi 2,967,297 34,107 1.15 4.31 70.36
3. New Jersey 8,791,894 240,303 2.73 4.49 12.42
4. Virginia 8,001,024 233,400 2.92 13.03 63.14
5. Maryland 5,773,552 164,708 2.85 9.01 59.00
6. Arkansas 2,915,918 72,883 2.50 9.07 59.50
7. Iowa 3,046,355 53,333 1.75 4.10 67.83
8. Indiana 6,483,802 127,901 1.97 6.63 69.02
9. Vermont 625,741 10,753 1.71 2.78 46.60
10. Illinois 12,830,632 289,982 2.26 3.31 23.38
11. Oklahoma 3,751,351 221,321 5.90 8.71 41.89
12. South Dakota 814,180 17,283 2.12 7.86 70.18
13. Texas 25,145,561 679,001 2.70 20.59 31.93
14. Washington 6,724,540 312,926 4.65 14.09 46.56
15. Oregon 3,831,074 144,759 3.78 11.97 38.20
16. Colorado 5,029,196 172,456 3.43 16.92 41.14
17. Utah 2,763,885 75,518 2.73 23.77 60.01
18. Nevada 2,700,551 126,075 4.67 35.14 64.96
19. Missouri 5,988,927 124,589 2.08 7.04 51.82
20. Alabama 4,779,736 71,251 1.49 7.48 61.28
21. Hawaii 1,360,301 320,629 23.57 12.28 23.63
22. Nebraska 1,826,341 39,510 2.16 6.72 64.95
23. North Carolina 9,535,483 206,199 2.16 18.46 99.69
24. Delaware 897,934 23,854 2.66 14.59 83.03
25. Kansas 2,853,118 85,933 3.01 6.13 52.10
26. Wyoming 563,626 12,361 2.19 14.14 39.15
27. California 37,253,956 1,815,384 4.87 9.99 12.92
28. Ohio 11,536,504 237,765 2.06 1.59 50.59
29. Connecticut 3,574,097 92,676 2.59 4.95 23.82
30. Pennsylvania 12,702,379 237,835 1.87 3.43 67.23
31. Wisconsin 5,686,986 104,317 1.83 6.03 55.94
32. Arizona 6,392,017 218,300 3.42 24.59 48.98
33. Idaho 1,567,582 38,935 2.48 21.15 52.04
34. New Mexico 2,059,179 77,010 3.74 13.20 16.11
35. Montana 989,415 24,976 2.52 9.67 58.78
36. Tennessee 6,346,105 110,009 1.73 11.54 74.32
37. North Dakota 672,591 11,853 1.76 4.73 60.22
38. Minnesota 5,303,925 125,145 2.36 7.81 51.25
39. Alaska 710,231 51,875 7.30 13.29 51.92
40. Florida 18,801,310 472,577 2.51 17.63 25.58
41. Georgia 9,687,653 207,489 2.14 18.34 81.71
42. Kentucky 4,339,367 75,208 1.73 7.36 77.20
43. New Hampshire 1,316,470 21,382 1.62 6.53 61.81
44. Michigan 9,883,640 230,319 2.33 -0.55 19.70
45. Massachusetts 6,547,629 172,003 2.63 3.13 17.81
46. Rhode Island 1,052,567 34,787 3.30 0.41 23.14
47. South Carolina 4,625,364 79,935 1.73 15.29 100.09
48. West Virginia 1,852,994 27,142 1.46 2.47 71.92
49. New York 19,378,102 585,849 3.02 2.12 -0.73
50. Puerto Rico 3,725,789 122,246 3.28 -2.17 -22.83
51. Maine 1,328,361 20,941 1.58 4.19 65.58
52. District of Columbia 601,723 17,316 2.88 5.19 71.92
Total (with Puerto Rico) 312,471,327 9,026,389 2.89 9.55 29.23
U.S. Population 308,745,538 9,009,073 2.92 9.71 31.98

Tables compiled by Steven F. Riley. Source: United States Census Bureau

2000 Census Data for “Two or More Races” for States Above
# State Total Population Two or More Races (TOMR) Percentage
1. Louisiana 4,469,976 48,265 1.08
2. Mississippi 2,844,658 20,021 0.74
3. New Jersey 8,414,250 213,755 2.54
4. Virginia 7,078,515 143,069 2.02
5. Maryland 5,296,486 103,587 1.96
6. Arkansas 2,673,400 35,744 1.34
7. Iowa 2,926,324 31,778 1.09
8. Indiana 6,080,485 75,672 1.24
9. Vermont 608,827 7,335 1.20
10. Illinois 12,419,293 235,016 1.89
11. Oklahoma 3,450,654 155,985 4.52
12. South Dakota 754,844 10,156 1.35
13. Texas 20,851,820 514,633 2.47
14. Washington 5,894,121 213,519 3.62
15. Oregon 3,421,399 104,745 3.06
16. Colorado 4,301,261 122,187 2.84
17. Utah 2,233,169 47,195 2.11
18. Nevada 1,998,257 76,428 3.82
19. Missouri 5,595,211 82,061 1.47
20. Alabama 4,447,100 44,179 0.99
21. Hawaii 1,211,537 259,343 21.41
22. Nebraska 1,711,263 23,953 1.40
23. North Carolina 8,049,313 103,260 1.28
24. Delaware 783,600 13,033 1.66
25. Kansas 2,688,418 56,496 2.10
26. Wyoming 493,782 8,883 1.80
27. California 33,871,648 1,607,646 4.75
28. Ohio 11,353,140 157,885 1.39
29. Connecticut 3,405,565 74,848 2.20
30. Pennsylvania 12,281,054 142,224 1.16
31. Wisconsin 5,363,675 66,895 1.25
32. Arizona 5,130,632 146,526 2.86
33. Idaho 1,293,953 25,609 1.98
34. New Mexico 1,819,046 66,327 3.65
35. Montana 902,195 15,730 1.74
36. Tennessee 5,689,283 63,109 1.11
37. North Dakota 642,200 7,398 1.15
38. Minnesota 4,919,479 82,742 1.68
39. Alaska 626,932 34,146 5.45
40. Florida 15,982,378 376,315 2.35
41. Georgia 8,186,453 114,188 1.39
42. Kentucky 4,041,769 42,443 1.05
43. New Hampshire 1,235,786 13,214 1.07
44. Michigan 9,938,444 192,416 1.94
45. Massachusetts 6,349,097 146,005 2.30
46. Rhode Island 1,048,319 28,251 2.69
47. South Carolina 4,012,012 39,950 1.00
48. West Virginia 1,808,344 15,788 0.87
49. New York 18,976,457 590,182 3.11
50. Puerto Rico 3,808,610 158,415 4.16
51. Maine 1,274,923 12,647 0.99
52. District of Columbia 572,059 13,446 2.35
Total (with Puerto Rico) 285,230,516 6,984,643 2.45
  United States 281,421,906 6,826,228 2.43

Tables compiled by Steven F. Riley.  Source: United States Census Bureau

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Mitsawokett to Bloomsbury: Archaeology and History of a Native-American Descendant Community in Central Delaware

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Chapter, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2010-12-31 22:51Z by Steven

Mitsawokett to Bloomsbury: Archaeology and History of a Native-American Descendant Community in Central Delaware

Chapter 5. A Larger Ethnic Community

383 pages
Delaware Department of Transportation Project 88-110-01
Federal Highway Administration Project F-NH-1003(13)
Delaware Department of Transportation Archæological Series Number 154
Carolann Wicks, Secretary

Original and redraft prepared by

Edward F. Heite and Cara L. Blume
Heite Consulting, Inc., Camden, Delaware

Redraft of original compiled by

Heite Consulting, Inc., Frederica, Delaware

DelDOT [Delaware Department of Transportation] has edited all cultural resource documents on this website. The documents were edited to protect the location of archaeological sites, any culturally sensitive material, and all State Historic Preservation Office (archaeological) cultural resource forms. Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended in 1992, 36 CFR pat 800.11 of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s regulations implementing Section 106 of that same Act, Section 9(a) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and Delaware Code Title 7, Chapter 53 and 5314 provide the legal authority for restricting access to information on the location and nature of archaeological resources.

At least three Bloomsbury households belonged to a distinct local ethnic enclave. Similar, related, communities existed along the Eastern Seaboard

The preservation planning regime requires that each property must be considered in terms of its larger cultural and historical context. An obvious context for the subject property is the post-contact history of “isolate” populations of Native American descent in Delaware, not previously noticed by the planning process. While creation of a new full-blown planning context is not appropriate in a site-specific study, some information is necessary in order to place the site in its own proper ethnic milieu.

An ethnic group may be defined by any combination of such traits as consanguinity, shared foodways, settlement patterns, and common customs. A Kent County isolate community included several Bloomsbury residents. By some definitions, this closed community can be described as a distinct ethnic group, part of a series of similar, interrelated, ethnic enclaves along the eastern seaboard.

Members of Delaware’s racial isolate communities have been known by a bewildering variety of labels over the years. Labels have shifted, depending upon the era and individual points of view. It is useful to analyse the meaning behind these labels, remembering that they reflect observer bias.

As the local group developed, similar communities were coming into existence up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Genealogical research firmly connects the local community with nearby groups. On a larger scale, similar circumstances and surname similarities suggest that there was, at an early date, an informal network of such communities over long distances. In any case, research for this project indicates that the local “isolate” community was not an isolated or a unique phenomenon.

These isolate groups share certain characteristics that are consistent from North Carolina northward at least to New Jersey. Shared attributes of the various communities include:

  1. Iberian surnames appear in all the communities as early as the seventeenth century, and always before the middle of the eighteenth century.
  2. Families with documented Native American heritage are related to at least some members of each community. Some of the documented Native American families are found among several communities, and migrations can be traced.
  3. At least by the middle of the eighteenth century, each community had begun to intermarry, thereby removing themselves from the larger local pool of prospective marriage partners.
  4. People moved among the communities and married, thereby suggesting that they early recognized and embraced one another as similar cultural communities.
  5. Aside from the term “Mulatto” applied with increasing frequency as time passed, most community members were not identified racially until after the Revolution…

Read the entire chapter here.

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