In Pursuit of Freedom: Slave Law and Emancipation in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2013-04-05 21:38Z by Steven

In Pursuit of Freedom: Slave Law and Emancipation in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky

The Filson Club History Quarterly
July 2002
pages 287-325

J. Blaine Hudson (1950-2013), Professor of Pan-African Studies
University of Louisville

The lives of both free and enslaved African-Americans were constrained to varying degrees by the powerful and paradoxical role of race in antebellum American society. According to Michael Omi and Howard Winant, this role was a consequence of the institutionalization of the United States as a “racial state,” a nation in which racial classification was a more important determinant of status than either socio-economic class or gender.’ In practical terms, this meant that “blackness” was considered prima facie evidence of slave status, that only persons of African descent were subject to the “social death” of slavery, and that, even if free, they were still black, and the visible marker of their Africanness consigned them to a place marginal to the American mainstream) In this context, the journey from the “social death” of slavery to the full enjoyment of freedom—such as African-Americans or their ancestors last experienced in their home African societies—was long, arduous, and, even now, remains unfinished. However, a careful reading of historical literature that reflects the perspective of African-Americans themselves indicates that there were several crucial milestones on this journey toward which the aspirations and efforts of African-Americans were directed: first, to maximize the freedom and human dignity possible within the confines of slavery; second, to become free—whether through legal or illegal means; and third, ultimately to achieve full equality and empowerment as free people in this country or, failing that, elsewhere.

As Frederick Douglass observed, for enslaved African-Americans trapped in the most horrendous and degrading circumstances, simply finding a “good master” or a less demanding work regimen or both was often viewed as a dramatic improvement in status. Unfortunately, for most, this first milestone was never reached; for the fortunate few, even this limited improvement was achieved at great cost over long years and was the best they could hope for in one lifetime. However, while escaping the most egregious evils of slavery was clearly desirable, slavery was still slavery, and freedom remained the ultimate goal. That the achievement of freedom was not an end in itself but only the beginning of another struggle for equality and empowerment did not lessen its attractions. Freedom was still preferable, by far, to bondage. It was for this reason that efforts by whites to ameliorate the conditions of slavery invariably failed to reduce the likelihood of escape or revolt—and often made these responses more likely.

In this broad context, there were several paths to the milestone of freedom in the antebellum period and each of these paths warrants careful analysis. As a general rule, African-Americans would choose the path of least resistance and minimum risk whenever possible. Such paths, of course, were few and—because they were legal and depended on the good faith, if not the good will, of whites—were closed to most enslaved African-Americans. Such paths were important nonetheless, and all were traveled to varying degrees at various times by African-Americans in Kentucky. Thus, it is appropriate to complement the previously published account of illegal routes to freedom with an analysis of how African-Americans in Louisville and Jefferson County pursued and achieved freedom through legal means during the antebellum period….

…The proportion of “mulattoes” (including “quadroons” and “octoroons“) in the African-American population was usually underestimated-since mulattos were often considered “living proof” of the sexual depravity of the slave system. Thus, census and other official records indicated that roughly ten percent of the slave population and roughly one-third of the free-black population were racially mixed. On the other hand, travel accounts, slave narratives, and the personal observations of southerners themselves suggest that the racially hybrid subgroup was a far larger segment of both the enslaved and free African-American populations. Clearly, local patterns seemed to follow the “unofficial” record, as African-Americans of mixed ancestry were overrepresented among those granted deeds of emancipation (68 of 129—52.7 percent). This fact may explain something of the unbalanced sex ratio. Some of the African-Americans emancipated were the children of slaveholders and the mothers of those children in many African-American “households.” The father was white—and missing…

Read the entire article here.

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The Mixed-Blood Racial Strain of Carmel, Ohio and Magoffin County, Kentucky

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2013-04-02 22:53Z by Steven

The Mixed-Blood Racial Strain of Carmel, Ohio and Magoffin County, Kentucky

Ohio Journal of Science
Volume 50, Number 6 (November 1950)
pages 281-290

Edward T. Price, Professor Emeritus of Geography
University of Oregon

A number of population groups of dark-skinned peoples, recognized as socially distinct in rural localities of eastern United States, are commonly assumed to be tri-racial, mixed from white, Negro, and Indian ancestors. A small example of such a group is mentioned by The Ohio Guide (1) as living in the vicinity of Carmel in Highland County. Aside from another small mixed-blood settlement of very different circumstances in Darke County, this group near Carmel is probably the only one to be found rooted in Ohio.

Carmel is a cross-roads hamlet based on a school, a church, and a country store. Its location on the margin of the Till Plains, half surrounded by the wooded hills which mark the western edge of the Appalachian Plateau, is probably significant for the phenomenon which brings it this notice (figs. 1 and 2).

The “half-breeds” or “Carmel Indians,” as they are locally identified, are well known to the farmers of the vicinity, who, on the surface at least, accept good-naturedly the claim of the former to Indian ancestry. Privately the question of Negro blood also may be raised. Most of the older residents think that both are present and can name families or individuals who they think illustrated each type in the days before the mixing was so thorough. The group look mixed; a few of them are nearly white, but most are identifiable by their brown or tan skin; many of them have curly black hair, and many have straight black hair. Few, if any, really look like Indians, but identifying negroid features are not usual. I consider it likely that Indian and Negro mixtures are both present on the basis that the degree of pigmentation in most of the people otherwise seems inconsistent with their general lack of negroid features (figs. 3, 4, and 5).

The surnames of the members of this group are, with few exceptions, Gibson (Gipson), Nichols, and Perkins. One or two other names have recently been added to the group by marriage. Some of the Gipsons aver that the Gibsons have a trace of Negro blood. In the summer of 1947 their number was determined to be at least 150; the population is said to have been somewhat larger in times past…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing for Black: The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2012-09-04 21:40Z by Steven

Passing for Black: The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd

University Press of Kentucky
208 pages
On Demand paperback ISBN: 978-0-8131-0948-0

Wade Hall

In 1976, Kentucky state legislator Mae Street Kidd successfully sponsored a resolution ratifying the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It was fitting that a black woman should initiate the state’s formal repudiation of slavery; that it was Mrs. Kidd was all the more appropriate. Born in Millersburg, Kentucky, in 1904 to a black mother and a white father, Kidd grew up to be a striking woman with fair skin and light hair. Sometimes accused of trying to pass for white in a segregated society, Kidd felt that she was doing the opposite—choosing to assert her black identity. Passing for Black is her story, in her own words, of how she lived in this racial limbo and the obstacles it presented. As a Kentucky woman of color during a pioneering period of minority and women’s rights, Kidd seized every opportunity to get ahead. She attended a black boarding academy after high school and went on to become a successful businesswoman in the insurance and cosmetic industries in a time when few women, black or white, were able to compete in a male-dominated society. She also served with the American Red Cross in England during World War II. It was not until she was in her sixties that she turned to politics, sitting for seventeen years in the Kentucky General Assembly—one of the few black women ever to do so—where she crusaded vigorously for housing rights. Her story—presented as oral history elicited and edited by Wade Hall—provides an important benchmark in African American and women’s studies and endures as a vital document in Kentucky history.

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The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White

Posted in Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2012-03-26 03:49Z by Steven

The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White

The Penguin Press
416 pages
6.14 x 9.25in
Hardcover ISBN: 9781594202827

Daniel J. Sharfstein, Professor of Law
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Winner of the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

In America, race is a riddle. The stories we tell about our past have calcified into the fiction that we are neatly divided into black or white. It is only with the widespread availability of DNA testing and the boom in genealogical research that the frequency with which individuals and entire families crossed the color line has become clear.

In this sweeping history, Daniel J. Sharfstein unravels the stories of three families who represent the complexity of race in America and force us to rethink our basic assumptions about who we are. The Gibsons were wealthy landowners in the South Carolina backcountry who became white in the 1760s, ascending to the heights of the Southern elite and ultimately to the U.S. Senate. The Spencers were hardscrabble farmers in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, joining an isolated Appalachian community in the 1840s and for the better part of a century hovering on the line between white and black. The Walls were fixtures of the rising black middle class in post-Civil War Washington, D.C., only to give up everything they had fought for to become white at the dawn of the twentieth century. Together, their interwoven and intersecting stories uncover a forgotten America in which the rules of race were something to be believed but not necessarily obeyed.

Defining their identities first as people of color and later as whites, these families provide a lens for understanding how people thought about and experienced race and how these ideas and experiences evolved-how the very meaning of black and white changed-over time. Cutting through centuries of myth, amnesia, and poisonous racial politics, The Invisible Line will change the way we talk about race, racism, and civil rights.

Three American families’ stories…

The Gibsons
The Gibsons were among the first free people of color in seventeenth-century Virginia, most of whom were free because their mothers were English and by law slavery followed the status of the mother. In the early l700s, as Virginia’s laws made it increasingly difficult for free blacks to own property and earn a living, the Gibsons left the colony for the southern frontier. When the Gibsons reached South Carolina in the 1730s, the colonial assembly worried.that they had come to organize a slave revolt. But after personally interviewing the family, the colonial governor granted them hundreds of acres of land in a Welsh and Scots-Irish community. After one generation they were neither black nor white-they were planters. In the nineteenth century, they rose to the heights of the Southern aristocracy. They sent their sons to Yale and had vast holdings of land and slaves near Vicksburg, Mississippi, Lexington, Kentucky, and Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Gibsons were rebel officers, powerful opponents of Reconstruction, and leaders of the New South.’ One became a United States Senator from Louisiana.

The Spencers
The Spencers’ story begins in the Appalachian Mountains. In an area that had more slaves and more free blacks than anywhere else in eastern Kentucky-largely because of a bustling salt mining industry there in the early 1800s-two free men of color began having children with a pair of white sisters who had recently moved from South Carolina. Shortly before one man, George Freeman, was prosecuted for interracial sex, the other man, Jordan Spencer-possibly Freeman’s brother or son-moved with his family one hundred miles deeper into the mountains. Even though he was visibly dark-skinned, his new community in Johnson County, Kentucky, decided that he could be white. His family hovered on the line between black and white for the rest of the century, farming and logging in a mountain hollow before heading into the coal mines.

The Walls
The Walls trace their roots to a wealthy plantation owner in Rockingham, North Carolina. Stephen Wall never married, but he had children with three of his slaves, In the 1830s and 1 840s, he freed his children and sent them to Ohio to be raised by radical Quaker abolitionists. He bought land for them, generously supported their education at places like Oberlin College, and willed them a lot of money. No one knows why. He kept their mothers in bondage. The children became ardent abolitionists and served in the Union Army and Freedmen’s Bureau. After the War, several moved to Washington, D.C., where they fought for civil rights and women’s rights and raised their families to expect nothing less than equality. But as Reconstruction gave way to Jim Crow, their children disappeared into the white world.

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“I Was Black When It Suited Me; I Was White When It Suited Me”: Racial Identity in the Biracial Life of Marguerite Davis Stewart

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Live Events, Passing, United States, Women on 2011-12-25 22:02Z by Steven

“I Was Black When It Suited Me; I Was White When It Suited Me”: Racial Identity in the Biracial Life of Marguerite Davis Stewart

Journal of American Ethnic History
Volume 26, Number 4, Women’s Voices, Ethnic Lives through Oral History (Summer, 2007)
pages 24-49

A. Glenn Crothers
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Tracy E. K’Meyer, Associate Professor of History
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Sitting onthe rooftop restaurant of the fictional Drayton Hotel in Chicago, Irene Redfield, the occasional “passer” and protagonist of Nella Larsen’s Passing, is suddenly swept with panic when she notices another woman—ostensibly a white woman—staring at her. “Did that woman, could that woman, somehow know that here before her very eyes on the roof of the Drayton sat a Negro?” Redfield asked herself. “No,” she concludes after some time, “the woman sitting there staring couldn’t possibly know” because a light-skinned woman like herself was usually mistaken “for an Italian, a Spaniard, a Mexican, or a gipsy.” Despite her assurance, Redfield still was troubled by the experience. She “felt, in turn ” Larsen writes, “anger, scorn, and fear slide over her.” Larsen’s fiction, based in the reality of African American life in the 1920s, provides a clear portrait of what sociologist F. James Davis has called “the agony of passing,” the fear of exposure by both the white and black communities. Fast forward to the end of the twentieth century, when in contrast to Larsen’s fearful passer Irene, such popular figures as Tiger Woods celebrate their mixed-race backgrounds and when the U.S. Census, which, as one sociologist puts it, “counts what the nation wants counted,” offers such individuals the opportunity to reject old categories and self-identify as “other.”

Marguerite Davis Stewart’s life spanned the decades between these two poles of racial experience, between tension-wrought “passing” and the embrace of multiracial identities. About the same time Larsen was envisioning the scene at the fictional Drayton Hotel, Stewart and her mother, light-skinned, African American women from Louisville, Kentucky, were staying at an all-white hotel in French Lick, Indiana. Brought to the hotel by a white man who loved Stewart’s mother, Stewart, a child at the time, remembered no sense of panic, no sense of fear in this environment. “Any time my people wanted to do what they wanted to do, they did what they damned [well] pleased,” including…

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Behind the Lines—Marquerite Davis

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-12-25 20:34Z by Steven

Behind the Lines—Marquerite Davis

Louisville Magazine
November 2006

Bruce M. Tyler, Associate Professor of History
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

The writer, an associate professor of history at the University of Louisville and author of Louisville in World War II (Arcadia Publishing, 2005), became intrigued by the role African-Americans played during the transformation of Bowman Field from a civilian airport to an Army Air Forces airfield after Pearl Harbor. In the course of his research, he met an elderly Marguerite Davis, who lived alone in Louisville with her memories — and photographs and documents — from her years working with members of the armed services as they evolved from segregation toward integration during those war years. Here, based on interviews with Davis and those who knew her, as well as research into the documents of the day, is the story of a woman who moved between black and white as the military geared up for World War II.

The first question I ask during an interview is, “When were you born and where?” I asked Marguerite Davis Stewart and she replied that her name was Marguerite Nelsenia Davis and she was born in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 1, 1911. She was from a mixed-race parentage — her father was African-American and her mother was from a German family in Munfordville, Ky. Her parents were Preston Davis, a black commissioned lieutenant during World War I, and Luverta Davis. The two did not stay together long because, my interviewee said, “My father and mother were incompatible.” Her father nevertheless stayed in contact and helped support mother and daughter in Louisville.

Apparently, Luverta Davis did not approve of Preston Davis’ lifestyle. Marguerite Davis said that her father smuggled Canadian whiskey in through Chicago and brought it to Louisville and sold it to the white-owned hotels during Prohibition. He did not do this work himself, according to his daughter, but paid others to do it. He had several white partners. He also had business involvements with several nightclubs that catered to blacks, although some whites patronized his clubs. Davis did not link her father’s underworld and nightclub lifestyle to the breakup of her parents, but this seems a strong possibility to me. I learned to not say or ask something that might get me tossed out of her home and end my interviews or frequent telephone conversations with her in her declining years. She made it clear to me on several occasions that she sought to have her professional life recorded for posterity, not her personal life, though she often turned our conversations to the latter.

Although Davis held strong views about race relations, she repeatedly told me that she wanted to downplay race as much as possible. She thought racial distinctions were silly and highly destructive to her and the human rights of people. Davis was light-skinned and could have passed for white, but she completely rejected any such notion. She admired her father and said nothing to disparage him. “My identity was irrelevant to me,” she said in one of our interviews. “The places I went and the work I did (in the Red Cross) were important to me. If you want to know the truth about it, I have no racial identity. I liked my black college. I enjoyed Fisk University (a historic black school located in Nashville, Tenn.).

“I liked black people; I liked some white people; I liked some Japanese; I liked some of everybody, and some I didn’t like. Race has no meaning to me and never did in my family.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Statistics On Miscegenation

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2011-11-27 02:07Z by Steven

Statistics On Miscegenation

Franklin Repository
page 1, column 6

Source: Valley of the Shadow: Civil War Era Newspapers, University of Virginia Library

Summary: The Repository details the disproportionate number of “mulattoes” in the South relative to the North.

Full Text of Article:

There were 411,613 mulatto slaves in the south in 1840, of whom 69,979 were in Virginia; 43,281 in Kentucky, and 36,900 in Georgia. These numbers are considerably beyond the legitimate proportion of those States. There were also 176,739 free mulattoes in the United States in 1860, of whom 106,770 belonged to the south, and 69,969 to the free States. Of the free mulattoes Virginia contained 23,485, which number, added to her slave mulattoes makes a total of miscegenated population of 93,824. Her mulatto slaves alone exceeded the total number of mulattoes in the free States.

The whole number of mulattoes, slave and free, in the Union, in 1860, was 588,352, of whom 69,969 belonged to the free States, and 518,383 to the slave Statesa number greater than the combined white population of Arkansas, Delaware and Florida—greater than the white population of Maryland—almost twice as great as that of South Carolina, and twice as great as the combined populations of Delaware and Florida. The mulatto population of Virginia alone exceeds the number of whites in Delaware or Florida.

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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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The Coe Ridge Colony: A Racial Island Disappears

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2010-12-01 03:58Z by Steven

The Coe Ridge Colony: A Racial Island Disappears

American Anthropologist
Volume 74, Issue 3 (June 1972)
pages 710–719
DOI: 10.1525/aa.1972.74.3.02a00350

Lynwood Montell
Western Kentucky University

The ninety year history of a racial isolate in the KentuckyTennessee border is examined. Peopled by a mixed population of Whites, Blacks, and, occasionally, Indians, the community received notoriety as an enclave for fugitives from the law of neighboring jurisdictions. Its demise came in 1958 as a result of changing land use and increasing tensions between the residents and those of the environing White society.

It has been said that the American Negro has in his veins not the blood of one race alone, or of two, but of three (Porter 1932: 287); the reference, of course, being to the Indian and White races. Such was certainly the case with the Coe Ridge racial island, comprising a people in southern Cumberland County, Kentucky, who called themselves Negro but who freely and proudly admitted to an early blood intermixture with the Cherokees of western North Carolina and a later infusion of White blood on multiple occasions on the Kentucky frontier. This racial group was concealed from the glare of the outside world in the raw yet beautiful hillcountry of southern Kentucky near the point where the Cumberland River disappears into Clay County, Tennessee, after meandering from Wolf Creek Dam across Russell, Cumberland, and Monroe Counties in Kentucky. It was here that the now legendary Black Coe bastion flourished, withered, and then perished before the relentless assault of the White man’s world.

Placed on Coe Ridge as a result of slave emancipation following the Civil War, the Coe racial island withstood for ninety years the attempts of resentful White neighbors to remove this single blot within an otherwise homogeneous White Society. The Black Coe people fought so fiercely in defense of their lives and property that, by the time the settlement finally succumbed to economic and legal pressures in the late 1950s, it was notorious in folk legend across the upper South as a place of refuge for White women shunned by their own families and communities and as a breeding ground for a race of rather handsome mulattoes, as a stronghold of moonshining and bootleggers, and as a battle ground for feuds that produced a harrowing list of ambushes, street murders, stabbings, and shootings. After years of raids, arrests, and skirmishes with federal agents and local lawmen, the Negroes’ resistance was broken, and they departed the hill country enclave for the industrial centers north of the Ohio River

Read the entire article here.

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Thomas Satterwhite Noble’s Mulattos: From Barefoot Madonna to Maggie the Ripper

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2009-10-15 20:04Z by Steven

Thomas Satterwhite Noble’s Mulattos: From Barefoot Madonna to Maggie the Ripper

Journal of American Studies
Volume 41, Issue 1 (April 2007)
pages 83-114
DOI: 10.1017/S0021875806002763

Jo-Ann Morgan, Associate Professor of Art History and African American Studies
Western Illinois University

With emancipation a fait accompli by 1865, one might ask why Kentucky-born Thomas Satterwhite Noble (1835–1907), former Confederate soldier, son of a border state slaveholder, began painting slaves then. Noble had known the “peculiar institution” at first hand, albeit from a privileged position within the master class. As a result, his choice to embark upon a career as a painter using historical incidents from slavery makes for an interesting study. Were the paintings a way of atoning for his Confederate culpability, a rebel pounding his sword into a paintbrush to appease the conquering North? Or was he capitalizing on his unique geographic perspective as a scion of slave-trafficking Frankfort, Kentucky, soon to head a prestigious art school in Cincinnati, the city where so many runaways first tasted freedom? Between 1865 and 1869 Noble exhibited in northern cities a total of eight paintings with African American subjects. Two of these, The Last Sale of Slaves in St. Louis (1865, repainted ca. 1870) and Margaret Garner (1867), featured mixed-race women, or mulattos, as they had come to be called. From a young female up for auction, to the famous fugitive Margaret Garner, his portrayals show a transformation taking place within perceptions of biracial women in post-emancipation America. Opinions about mulattos surfaced in a range of theoretical discussions, from the scientific to the political, as strategists North and South envisioned evolving social policy.

Margaret Garner or The Modern Medea (1867)

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