Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2021-10-11 18:22Z by Steven

Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South

University of North Carolina Press
October 2021
76 pages
6.125 x 9.25
14 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6439-2
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6438-5

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr., Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

On the eve of the Civil War, most people of color in the United States toiled in bondage. Yet nearly half a million of these individuals, including over 250,000 in the South, were free. In Beyond Slavery’s Shadow, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. draws from a wide array of sources to demonstrate that from the colonial period through the Civil War, the growing influence of white supremacy and proslavery extremism created serious challenges for free persons categorized as “negroes,” “mulattoes,” “mustees,” “Indians,” or simply “free people of color” in the South. Segregation, exclusion, disfranchisement, and discriminatory punishment were ingrained in their collective experiences. Nevertheless, in the face of attempts to deny them the most basic privileges and rights, free people of color defended their families and established organizations and businesses.

These people were both privileged and victimized, both celebrated and despised, in a region characterized by social inconsistency. Milteer’s analysis of the way wealth, gender, and occupation intersected with ideas promoting white supremacy and discrimination reveals a wide range of social interactions and life outcomes for the South’s free people of color and helps to explain societal contradictions that continue to appear in the modern United States.

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Ralston, Elreta Melton Alexander

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-10-02 02:13Z by Steven

Ralston, Elreta Melton Alexander

NCPedia
State Library of North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
2013

Virginia L. Summey, Historian, Author, and Faculty Fellow
Lloyd International Honors College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Elreta Melton Alexander was a pioneering African-American attorney from Greensboro, North Carolina. Born in Smithfield, North Carolina, she was the daughter of a Baptist minister and a teacher, and grew up comfortably as a part of the black middle class. Coming of age during the Jim Crow period of the South, she was raised by her educated, middle-class parents to be a leader in the community. The descendant of two white grandparents, her bi-racialism formed her early awareness of colorism within the African-American community…

Read the entire article here.

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Aaron’s Book

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-10 19:39Z by Steven

Aaron’s Book

The Devil’s Tale: Dispatches from the Davin M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
2021-07-27

Blake Hill-Saya


Above: Portrait in oils of Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore painted by his daughter Lyda Moore Merrick. Located in the North Carolina Collection, Stanford L. Warren Branch of the Durham County Library, Durham, N.C.

Too often we relegate the lives of our ancestors to the basket of nostalgia. We think that because our modern times have dressed us up in different clothes and surrounded us with technology that the lives and struggles of our ancestors can’t speak with any real directness to ours. It is easy in the rush and rattle of the present to allow seasoned historians to define us in macrocosm while overlooking the importance of our own more granular history; a thread waiting to be pulled in the warp and woof of who we think we are. Libraries and historical archives exist to help us pull that thread and expand our understanding of history and our place in it.

Eight years ago, I was chosen by the Durham Colored Library board of directors, led by chairperson C. Eileen Watts Welch, to follow my own ancestral thread and write a biography of my great- great-grandfather, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore. The dream of this historical biography of Durham’s first Black physician far predates my involvement; it actually predates me. Dr. Moore’s daughter, my great-grandmother, Lyda Moore Merrick, dreamed of a book about her Papa. My grandfather, Dr. Charles DeWitt Watts, a legendary surgeon and healthcare activist in his own right, also dreamed of this book. His dream inspired his daughter, C. Eileen Watts Welch, to make this biography a reality. The Durham Colored Library, an organization founded by Dr. Moore himself in 1913 and now a non-profit focused on uplifting Black narratives, sponsored the project…

Read the entire article here.

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Marvin Jones’ Winton Triangle research a personal journey

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2021-07-14 17:57Z by Steven

Marvin Jones’ Winton Triangle research a personal journey

Coastal Review: A Daily News Service of the North Carolina Coastal Federation
Newport, North Carolina
2021-07-06

Kip Tabb


The Pleasant Plains Baptist Church founded in 1851 is one of the oldest multiracial congregations in North Carolina. The brick church, built in 1951, replaced the original wooden church. Photo: Kip Tabb

Marvin Jones, Chowan Discovery Group executive director, has made it his life’s work to document the history of a northeastern North Carolina community of color.

NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA — In 1845, North Carolina passed a law prohibiting free people of color from selling liquor. Fourteen years later, the law was expanded banning the sale of liquor to “… any free person of color, for cash, or in exchange for articles delivered, or upon any consideration whatever, or as a gift …”

Almost immediately, 55 white men from Hertford County requested an exemption. There does not seem to be a record of why the exemption was requested, but in his University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 2012 doctoral dissertation, Warren Milteer points out that “by 1860, approximately 1,000 free people of color resided in Hertford County, giving the county one of the largest free non-white populations in the state.”

The law, specifically calling out free people of color, highlights how complex the story of race in America is.

Not every person of color in the South was enslaved.

It is a point Marvin Tupper Jones, the executive director of the nonprofit volunteer preservation and research organization Chowan Discovery Group, explains in detail. A native of what he describes as the Winton Triangle in Hertford County, Jones traces his heritage to the late 17th century.

“My oldest named ancestor was from India. William Weaver shows up around 1690,” he told Coastal Review. Weaver was the father of biracial children who were free…

Read the entire article here.

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Free People of Color History Conversation (Zoom Virtual Event)

Posted in History, Live Events, United States, Videos on 2021-01-30 22:37Z by Steven

Free People of Color History Conversation (Zoom Virtual Event)

Cape Fear Museum
814 Market Street
Wilmington, North Carolina 28401
Friday, 2021-02-05, 17:00Z (12:00 EST)

Jan Davidson, Cape Fear Museum and Host

In 1860, 12 percent of the free people of color in slave states lived in North Carolina. Join UNCG professor Dr. Warren Milteer and Cape Fear Museum on Zoom for a conversation about the lives of free men, women, and children of color in our region. Dr. Milteer, who authored North Carolina’s Free People of Color, will discuss his work with Museum historian Dr. Jan Davidson.

Warren Eugene Milteer, Jr. is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. His publications include two academic books, Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South (forthcoming with UNC Press, 2021) and North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715-1885 (LSU Press, 2020), the independently published Hertford County, North Carolina’s Free People of Color (2016), as well as articles in the Journal of Social History and the North Carolina Historical Review. Milteer was the recipient of the Historical Society of North Carolina’s R. D. W. Connor Award in 2014 and 2016 for the best journal article in the North Carolina Historical Review

For more information, click here. To join the conversation, click here.

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North Carolina Free People of Color, 1715-1885 with Warren Eugene Milteer Jr.

Posted in Audio, History, Media Archive, United States on 2021-01-30 22:12Z by Steven

North Carolina Free People of Color, 1715-1885 with Warren Eugene Milteer Jr.

Research at the National Archives and Beyond
2020-06-25

Bernice Bennett, Host

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. examines the lives of free persons categorized by their communities as negroes, mulattoes, mustees, Indians, mixed-bloods, or simply free people of color. From the colonial period through Reconstruction, lawmakers passed legislation that curbed the rights and privileges of these non-enslaved residents, from prohibiting their testimony against whites to barring them from the ballot box. While such laws suggest that most white North Carolinians desired to limit the freedoms and civil liberties enjoyed by free people of color, Milteer reveals that the two groups often interacted—praying together, working the same land, and occasionally sharing households and starting families. Some free people of color also rose to prominence in their communities, becoming successful businesspeople and winning the respect of their white neighbors.

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is the author of North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885.

Listen to the episode (00:45:57) here. Download the episode here.

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North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-09-10 01:16Z by Steven

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Louisiana State University Press
July 2020
304 pages
6.00 x 9.00 inches
17 halftones, 1 map
Hardcover ISBN: 9780807171769

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr., Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

In North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. examines the lives of free persons categorized by their communities as “negroes,” “mulattoes,” “mustees,” “Indians,” “mixed-­bloods,” or simply “free people of color.” From the colonial period through Reconstruction, lawmakers passed legislation that curbed the rights and privileges of these non-enslaved residents, from prohibiting their testimony against whites to barring them from the ballot box. While such laws suggest that most white North Carolinians desired to limit the freedoms and civil liberties enjoyed by free people of color, Milteer reveals that the two groups often interacted—praying together, working the same land, and occasionally sharing households and starting families. Some free people of color also rose to prominence in their communities, becoming successful businesspeople and winning the respect of their white neighbors.

Milteer’s innovative study moves beyond depictions of the American South as a region controlled by a strict racial hierarchy. He contends that although North Carolinians frequently sorted themselves into races imbued with legal and social entitlements—with whites placing themselves above persons of color—those efforts regularly clashed with their concurrent recognition of class, gender, kinship, and occupational distinctions. Whites often determined the position of free nonwhites by designating them as either valuable or expendable members of society. In early North Carolina, free people of color of certain statuses enjoyed access to institutions unavailable even to some whites. Prior to 1835, for instance, some free men of color possessed the right to vote while the law disenfranchised all women, white and nonwhite included.

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885 demonstrates that conceptions of race were complex and fluid, defying easy characterization. Despite the reductive labels often assigned to them by whites, free people of color in the state emerged from an array of backgrounds, lived widely varied lives, and created distinct cultures—all of which, Milteer suggests, allowed them to adjust to and counter ever­-evolving forms of racial discrimination.

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Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham’s Black Wall Street

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2020-06-09 16:03Z by Steven

Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham’s Black Wall Street

University of North Carolina Press
May 2020
280 pages
6.125 x 9.25
45 halftones, 1 figure, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5585-7

Blake Hill-Saya, Classical Musician and Creative Writer
Los Angeles, California

Foreword by:

G. K. Butterfield, United States Representative
North Carolina, 1st District

Afterword by:

C. Eileen Watts Welch, President and CEO
Durham Colored Library, Inc., Durham, North Carolina

Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863–1923) was born in rural Columbus County in eastern North Carolina at the close of the Civil War. Defying the odds stacked against an African American of this era, he pursued an education, alternating between work on the family farm and attending school. Moore originally dreamed of becoming an educator and attended notable teacher training schools in the state. But later, while at Shaw University, he followed another passion and entered Leonard Medical School. Dr. Moore graduated with honors in 1888 and became the first practicing African American physician in the city of Durham, North Carolina. He went on to establish the Durham Drug Company and the Durham Colored Library; spearhead and run Lincoln Hospital, the city’s first secular, freestanding African American hospital; cofound North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; help launch Rosenwald schools for African American children statewide; and foster the development of Durham’s Hayti community.

Dr. Moore was one-third of the mighty “Triumvirate” alongside John Merrick and C. C. Spaulding, credited with establishing Durham as the capital of the African American middle class in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and founding Durham’s famed Black Wall Street. His legacy can still be seen on the city streets and country backroads today, and an examination of his life provides key insights into the history of Durham, the state, and the nation during Reconstruction and the beginning of the Jim Crow Era.

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Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice, Women on 2020-03-10 18:07Z by Steven

Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice

Stanford University Press
December 2019
304 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781503601123
Digital ISBN: 9781503610811

Andrea Freeman, Associate Professor of Law
William S. Richardson School of Law
University of Hawai’i, Mānoa

Born into a tenant farming family in North Carolina in 1946, Mary Louise, Mary Ann, Mary Alice, and Mary Catherine were medical miracles. Annie Mae Fultz, a Black-Cherokee woman who lost her ability to hear and speak in childhood, became the mother of America’s first surviving set of identical quadruplets. They were instant celebrities. Their White doctor named them after his own family members. He sold the rights to use the sisters for marketing purposes to the highest-bidding formula company. The girls lived in poverty, while Pet Milk’s profits from a previously untapped market of Black families skyrocketed.

Over half a century later, baby formula is a seventy-billion-dollar industry and Black mothers have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. Since slavery, legal, political, and societal factors have routinely denied Black women the ability to choose how to feed their babies. In Skimmed, Andrea Freeman tells the riveting story of the Fultz quadruplets while uncovering how feeding America’s youngest citizens is awash in social, legal, and cultural inequalities. This book highlights the making of a modern public health crisis, the four extraordinary girls whose stories encapsulate a nationwide injustice, and how we can fight for a healthier future.


President John F. Kennedy visits with Mary Alice Fultz, Mary Louise Fultz, Mary Anne Fultz, and Mary Catherine Fultz, a set of quadruplets from Milton, North Carolina, 2 August 1962.
Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, 1962-08-02.

Contents

  • 1. Introduction: A Formula for Discrimination
  • 2. The Famous Fultz Quads
  • 3. Black Breastfeeding in America
  • 4. The Bad Black Mother
  • 5. When Formula Rules
  • 6. Legalizing Breast Milk
  • 7. The Fultz Quads after Pet Milk
  • Conclusion: “First Food” Freedom
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This NC man was one of the most important Civil War leaders, but he was erased from history for 100 years

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2020-02-12 01:08Z by Steven

This NC man was one of the most important Civil War leaders, but he was erased from history for 100 years

ABC11 (WTVD-TV)
Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
2020-02-10

Cameron Clinard, Senior Digital Producer

Meet the most important Civil War leader you’ve never heard of

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) — One of the most important African American leaders of the late 1800s was born in North Carolina, but his accomplishments and influence vanished from history for 100 years.

Abraham Galloway was a spy, an insurgent, a statesman, a fierce advocate of the working class and a warrior against oppression and tyranny.

“When he did speaking tours in the North, he didn’t introduce Frederick Douglass as the main speaker of the night. Frederick Douglass introduced him as the main speaker of the night,” historian Dr. David Cecelski said.

Yet today, Frederick Douglass is a household name and central figure of study in American history, while Abraham Galloway is hardly known.

When Galloway died in 1870, approximately 6,000 people attended his funeral. Newspapers at the time reported that it was the largest funeral in North Carolina history.

“Everybody knew who Abraham Galloway was at that point,” Cecelski said…

Read the entire story here.

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