The Free Negro Family: A Study of Family Origins Before the Civil War

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2012-08-05 22:12Z by Steven

The Free Negro Family: A Study of Family Origins Before the Civil War

Fisk University Press
72 pages
E185.86 .F84
Source: University of Michigan via The Hathi Trust Digital Library

E. Franklin Frazier (1894-1962), Professor of Sociology
Fisk University


  1. Origin, Growth, and Distribution of the Free Negroes
  2. Character of the Free Negro Communities
  3. The Free Negro Family
    • Selected Bibliography


  1. Growth of the Slave and Free Negro Population in the United States: 1790-1860
  2. Distribution of the Free Negro Population According to States in 1830 and 1860
  3. Number of Slaves and Free Negroes in the Total Population of Four Leading Cities in 1790
  4. School Attendance and Adult Illiteracy Among the Free Negro Population in 16 Cities: 1850


  1. Percentage of the Negro Population Free in the Counties of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia: 1860
  2. Distribution of Free Negro Families: 1830


A class of free Negroes existed in America almost from the time that they were first introduced into the Virginia colony in 1619. Contrary to popular belief, the free class may even be said to be prior in origin to the slave class, since the first Negroes brought to America, did not have the status of slaves, but of indentured servants. Contracts of indentured Negro servants indicate that the status of the first Negroes was the same as that of the white servants. Moreover, court records show that Negroes were released originally upon the completion of a term of servitude. The slave status, for which the white colonists had no model in England, “developed in customary law, and was legally sanctioned at first by court decisions.” Although it was not until 1662 that the first act of the Virginia slave code was passed, slavery by this time had apparently become established in practice. As early as 1651 we find a Negro, Anthony Johnson, who was probably enumerated among the indentured servants in the census of 1624, having assigned to him in fee simple a land patent for two hundred and fifty acres of land. Two years later this same man was the defendant in a suit brought against him by another Negro for his freedom from servitude, after having served “seaven or eight years of Indenture.” According to Russell, “The upper limit of the period in which it was possible for negroes to come to Virginia as servants and to acquire freedom after a limited period is the year 1682” Nevertheless, the free class continued to grow until the Civil War.

The free Negro population was increased through five sources: (1) children born of free colored persons; (2) mulatto children born of free colored mothers; (3) mulatto children born of white servants or free women; (4) children of free Negro and Indian parentage; (5) manumitted slaves. The increase in the free Negro population through the offspring of free colored parents, though difficult to estimate, contributed to the growth of this class until Emancipation. Likewise, the numerous cases of offsprings from white fathers and free colored mothers would indicate that from this source the free Negro population was constantly enlarged. Mulattoes born of white servant women and free white women were also a significant factor, for it was soon the cause for special legislative action. Virginia, in 1691, passed a law prescribing that “any white woman marrying a negro or mulatto, bond or free,” should be banished. Maryland, in 1681, provided in an act that children born of white servant women and Negroes were free. Eleven years later any white woman who married or became the mother of a child by either a slave or free Negro became a servant for seven years. Pennsylvania found it necessary to restrict the intermarriage of Negroes and whites through legislative action in 1725-1726, after having punished a woman for “abetting a clandestine marriage between a white woman and a negro” in 1722. This restriction was swept away, as well as the other restrictions upon the Negro, in 1780. Seemingly, mixed marriages became common, for Thomas Branagan complained:

There are many, very many blacks who . . . begin to feel themselves consequential . . . will not be satisfied unless they get white women for wives, and are likewise exceedingly impertinent to white people in low circumstances … I solemnly swear, I have seen more white women married to, and deluded through the arts of seduction by Negroes in one year in Philadelphia, than for eight years I was visiting (West Indies and the Southern States). I know a black man who seducted a young white girl. . . who soon after married him, and died with a broken heart. On her death he said that he would not disgrace himself to have a Negro wife and acted accordingly, for he soon after married a white woman . . . There are perhaps hundreds of white women thus fascinated by black men in this city, and there are thousands of black children by them at present.

It is difficult to determine to what extent the intermixture of free Negroes and Indians contributed to the growth of the free colored population. There was always considerable association between the Indian and Negro, both in areas given up to Indians and outside of these areas…

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The Negro in Washington: A Study in Race Amalgamation

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-04 04:25Z by Steven

The Negro in Washington: A Study in Race Amalgamation

Walter Neale, Publisher, New York
332 pages
Original Classification ID: E185.93.D695
Source: University of California via The Hathi Trust Digital Library

A. H. Shannon, B. D., M. A.
Former Chaplain of the Mississippi State Penetentiary
Member, American Anthropological Association


  • A. A Personal Word to the Reader.
  • B. Introduction.
  • I. Statement of the Case.
  • II. The Mulatto
  • III. Illegitimacy
  • IV. Isabella and Jamestown
  • V. The Near-White.
  • VI. The Poor-White
  • VIII. Politics and the Race Problem
  • III. Race and Religion
  • IX. Colonization as a Solution of the American Race Problem
  • X. Some Conclusions and a Forward Look


The author of this book has been, for some years, a  close observer of race relations and a student of those  problems growing out of racial contacts. As Chaplain of the Mississippi State Penitentiary, he was called  upon to minister to several hundred Negro prisoners,  thus gaining a measure of intimate knowledge of the Negro criminal. As a teacher in the employ of the  Imperial Government of Japan, he was privileged to  make a brief study of an Oriental civilization. Here  was gained some knowledge of the Eurasian problem, so acute in some of the Asiatic countries and in evidence  wherever contact of East and West has occurred.

The chief interest of the author in the Negro problem has centered about the matter of racial intermixture—the Mulatto problem—and most of his writings have had to do with this evil. The present study, while endeavoring to ascertain and to state fact impartially, necessarily gives a large measure of personal reaction  to certain of the problems involved in present-day contacts of the two races, the black and the white, in the United States. Whoever really understands conditions now obtaining in North America is prepared to understand the situation wherever two dissimilar races occupy the same territory, or wherever casual racial contacts occur—as they now do throughout the greater part of the world.

There is a conscious and an intentional limiting of this study largely to those features of the situation which may well tend toward discouragement, if not toward hopeless pessimism. Since it now appears fashionable to approach the Negro problem from the standpoint of the invincible optimist, resolutely ignoring or consciously discarding those facts which, fairly faced, would shatter so many pleasing theories, it is well that some one should present the darker side of the picture, for there is a terribly dark side. The reader, once the situation is clearly analyzed and its elements indicated, may be trusted to interpret aright the issues unquestionably involved. Americans, white and black alike, are not awake to the real situation confronting them, a fact clearly evidenced by more than half century of silence and indifference touching the vital issue of race amalgamation and the conditions under which this is now occurring.

As an answer to the ever-ready charge of ministering to, if not creating, racial antagonisms and hates—a charge behind which there sometimes lurks more of moral and of intellectual inertia than some good people are aware of—there is to be noted the difference between a clear statement of fact, a clear-cut challenge to the self-respect of each of two groups, and a maligning of one group by the other. If it has come to the pass that a calm facing of fact, a thorough analysis of a given situation, must be opposed because it reveals the destructiveness of an inherited unreasonable and unreasoned program, there should, at least, be a clear understanding of the attitudes displayed and a close scrutiny of the motives behind these attitudes.

Both races in America, especially in the United States, are confronted by facts demanding careful consideration; by problems the solution of which depends primarily upon thorough analysis as the basis for a full understanding of what is really involved. Various organizations, secular and religious, are in the field, voluntarily endeavoring to carry out programs which they are free to make what they will. Most of these would resent the charge that they are contributing directly to moral confusion and to racial degradation. Most of them would resent the charge that their work and the attitudes upon which it rests constitute the most destructive influence against which the full-blood Negro must contend at the present time. Can it be shown that such charge is untrue? If only there could be a general and an honest, dispassionate inquiry, bringing these matters into the realm of conscious thought and purposive program, there would be hope of constructive action. If this volume assists the reader to break with traditional lines of thought and the attitudes and the programs based upon these lines of thought, thus promoting independent analysis and rationally constructive programs, it will serve a useful and a timely purpose.

The author is forced into a position which is es sentially unpleasant. It becomes necessary to point out the grounds of criticism, the delinquencies, of those who, holding positions of leadership—political, educational, religious—have failed to see, or seeing have failed to meet, or have met with utter indifference, the problems here discussed. Upon the part of the leaders of both races there has been, at best, a light estimate of the trust reposed in their leadership. No further evidence is necessary to establish this fact than to call attention to present conditions and to the manner in which these conditions have grown up, without effective protest or warning, and that they are now generally accepted, without analysis, and without intelligent evaluation of their logical, their inevitable, results.

The thanks of the author are due to both Authors  and Publishers permitting the use of quotations appear ing in this volume. Credit is given in each case. Professor E. B. Reuter has been especially generous, permitting the unrestricted use of material the collection of which necessarily cost him much expense, in addition, to time and labor involved. His book, The Mulatto in the United States, is a very valuable statement of ultimate fact.

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What Miscegenation is! And What We are to Expect Now That Mr. Lincoln is Re-elected

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-08-04 02:21Z by Steven

What Miscegenation is! And What We are to Expect Now That Mr. Lincoln is Re-elected

Waller & Willets, Publishers, New York
c. 1865
8 pages
Source: Harvard University via The Hathi Trust Digital Library

L. Seaman, LL. D.

“What, is Miscegenation?” is an oft repeated inquiry. A word not recognized by Webster, Johnson, or Worcester, and yet in general use. The following definition is according to the popular acceptation of the term:

Miscegenation, noun—The act of mixing or state of being mixed; a mass or compound of different ingredients; in logic, thought of in relation to an actual existence; opposed to abstract.

Miscegenate, verb transitive—Literally, to unite and blend as one common brotherhood different races; to blend promiscuously; to coalesce.

It is unnecessary for us to enter into a lengthy definition of the word as the artist who engraved our frontispiece portrays that which our pen fails to accomplish. Our illustration represents an “intelligent gentleman of color” affectionately saluting a pretty white girl of sixteen, with auburn hair and light complexion; the different shades of complexion of the two contrasting beautifully and lending  enchantment to the scene. The thick tufts of wool of the one lends beauty to the long, waving auburn hair of the other, and the sweet, delicate little Roman nose of the one does not detract from the beauty of the broad, flat nose, with expanded nostrils of the other—while the intellectual, bold and majestic forehead of the one forms an unique, though beautiful contrast to the round, flat head, resembling a huge gutter mop, of the other. Contrast is the order of the day: a desire for sameness was an hallucination of the ancients, but we of the Nineteenth Century are going to bring about a new order of things…

…Actual Miscegenationists were first discovered in the South, but the atrocious crime was not popular although it was committed to a considerable extent, and men have been known to sell their own children into slavery, simply because of the supposed attaintment of the offspring from its mother. But such beasts are only to be found in the South. Here in the North, we have a finer sense of the beautiful. Dark blood, in the estimation ot the Northmen, instead of attainting, purifies. A man whose veins are coursed by a certain amount of dark blood, and whose skin is correspondingly dark, is believed to be a superior being.

Many of our best orators have been advocating this mixture for some time. Wendel Phillips can’t see why a negro is not the equal of a white man, and, in many instances, why he has not proved himself superior. When coalescesion takes place he believes that the excellent properties of Sambo’s component parts are intensified and the sluggish material of the white man purified and renovated…

Read the entire pamphlet here.

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Almost White

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2012-07-31 04:28Z by Steven

Almost White

212 pages
Original Classication ID: E184.A1 B53
Source: University of Michigan via The Hathi Trust Digital Library

Brewton Berry


  • Preface
  • 1. The Myth of the Vanishing Indian
  • 2. Where Are They?
  • 3. Who Are They?
  • 4. What the Whites Believe
  • 5. What the Negro Thinks
  • 6. Etiquette
  • 7. How They Live
  • 8. Their Schools
  • 9. Almost Red
  • 10. Almost Black
  • 11. Almost White
  • Bibliography
  • Index


Miscegenation seems to be an inevitable consequence of the meeting of races and nationalities. Despite the fears and warnings of the Jeremiahs, hybrids are everywhere. Fortunately, most people of mixed blood are able to identify themselves with, and are accepted by, one or the other of the racial groups from which they have sprung. Thus, the American mulatto thinks of himself as a Negro and is accepted by other Negroes as one of themselves.

But here and there we find pathetic folk of mixed ancestry who never know quite where they belong. There are Eurasians in the Far East, Anglo-Indians in India, Cape Coloured and Afro-Asians in South Africa, Jamaica Whites in Jamaica, and Indo-Europeans in Indonesia. Elsewhere we find Bovianders, Lobos, Caboslos, Cafusos, Moplahs, Moriscos, Cholos and countless others. These are raceless people, neither fish nor fowl, neither white, nor black, nor red, nor brown. They bear a heavy cross.

We have such folk in the United States. I first became aware of them as a youth in Orangeburg, South Carolina where there are outcasts known as Brass Ankles, Red Legs, and Buckheads. But, like others of my class, I remained aloof from them and never gave them a passing thought. Not, at any rate, until 1937 when I read Everett Stonequist’s The Marginal Man. That set me to thinking, and for the past twenty-five years I have been searching out and visiting these hybrid communities. A fellowship from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation enabled me to spend one full year in the field, and another was made possible by a grant from the Graduate School of The Ohio State University.

My informants have been legion. Over the years I have corresponded with hundreds of persons who shared my interest. I have talked with thousands of whites and Negroes who live in proximity to these mixed-bloods. My indebtedness to all these is very great. Especially do I appreciate the help given me by Dr. William Harlen Gilbert, Jr., of the Library of Congress, Mr. Calvin L. Beale of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Edward T. Price of Los Angeles State College, and Mr. C. A. Weslager of Wilmington, Delaware. I am grateful to Dr. Chapman J. Milling, of Columbia, South Carolina, for permission to use his poem “Croatan” which appears in Chapter II. The editors of Phylon allowed me to reprint “The Myth of the Vanishing Indian,” and the University of North Carolina Press granted permission to quote from James Aswell’s God Bless the Devil!

Most of all I am indebted to the thousands of mixed-bloods, whom I call mestizos, who received me with kindness and courtesy, and who shared their secrets with me. I hope that this book will help to remove some of the prejudice and misunderstanding to which they have been subjected.

Brewton Berry

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