Free People of Color in Slaveholding North Carolina: The Andersons of Granville County

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2017-04-03 02:27Z by Steven

Free People of Color in Slaveholding North Carolina: The Andersons of Granville County

Renegade South: Histories of Unconventional Southerners
2017-04-01

Vikki Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History
Texas State University, San Marcos


Map courtesy of Kianga Lucas.

Late last year, I was contacted by Raymont Hawkins-Jones, a descendant of a family I’d written about many years earlier: the Andersons of Granville County, North Carolina. The Andersons were one of the many fascinating free families of color that I’ve studied over the years, and I enjoyed learning more about their history from Raymont. Back in pre-internet 1992, pretty much everything I knew about my subjects was what I’d learned from records held at the North Carolina State Archives. Today, social media has enabled me to meet many of their descendants and to access additional records posted on the internet. The same digital revolution that stimulated me to create this blog also allows me to revisit my early topics of research and bring their stories up to date! (1)

The Andersons and the families with whom they intermarried belonged to a community of people defined by society as non-white, but who rarely appeared as slaves in North Carolina’s state and court records. As I’ve noted in earlier Renegade South essays about the mixed heritage communities of Gloucester County, Virginia, and the “Winton Triangle” of North Carolina, the lives of free people of color reveal far more complicated histories of racial identity and race relations than the broad images of “white freedom” and “black slavery” would suggest.

In fact, families such as the Andersons are central to understanding historical events that preceded and followed the institution of slavery, including colonization, the American Revolution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the postwar rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the New South era of white supremacy.

The very existence of free people of color, especially those in the South, threatened the growing institution of slavery. Southern whites especially feared their influence on slaves as the United States moved toward a Civil War generated by national conflicts over slavery. Determined to prevent free people of color from exercising full rights of citizenship and mobility, lawmakers increasingly policed their behavior through oppressive laws and customs…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Economics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-19 21:35Z by Steven

Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina

Explorations in Economic History
Volume 50, Issue 1, January 2013
pages 148–159
DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.06.002

Tiffany L. Green, Assistant Professor
Department of Healthcare Policy and Research
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia

Tod G. Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Office of Population Research
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

A growing empirical literature in economics and sociology documents the existence of more favorable social and economic outcomes among mixed-race blacks compared to non-mixed race blacks. However, few researchers consider whether the advantages associated with mixed-race status extend to mortality. To address this gap in the literature, we employ unique data from the 1880 North Carolina Mortality Census records in conjunction with data from 1880 U.S. Census of Population for North Carolina to examine whether mulatto (mixed-race) blacks experienced mortality advantages over to their colored (non-mixed race) counterparts from June 1879 to May 1880. For men between the ages of 20 and 44, estimates demonstrate that all black males, both mulatto and colored, were more likely than whites to die during the survey period. Although our results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in mortality between mulatto and colored black men, we find a substantial mortality advantage associated with mixed-race status among women.

Read or purchase the article here.

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A Mixed-Race, Mixed-Marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-26 15:40Z by Steven

A Mixed-Race, Mixed-Marriage

Cumbo Family Website: Exploring Cumbo Family Roots and Branches across Generations
2016-05-06

Andre Kearns
Washington, D.C.

My great-great grandparents Edward Biggs and Florence Cumbo were both listed as Colored on their 1890 marriage license.

So why am I classifying their union as a mixed marriage?

It is because Edward Biggs was born to an enslaved family and Florence Cumbo was born to a free family of color.

Both were born mixed race people but due to different circumstances. Based on a family photo, Edward Biggs appears white. Based on research he was likely a quarter black, a product of successive generations of offspring between white men and enslaved women. Edward Bigg’s father, based on his death certificate was a man named Kader Biggs, one of the larger slave owners in Bertie County, North Carolina. His mother Sarah Peele was a bi racial woman born into slavery around 1848 in Bertie…

Read the entire article here.

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Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2016-04-13 00:02Z by Steven

Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore, Maryland
1993-10-12

Richard O’Mara, Staff Writer

Proud people from North Carolina find a home in Baltimore

Shirley Jeffrey, an East Baltimore resident, remembers the painful moment five years ago when two Sioux Indians told her that “Lumbees aren’t really Indians.”

Jimmy Hunt recalls a similar experience as an Army recruit when a sergeant asked the American Indians in the group to stand up. “There were two others besides myself,” he says. “Later they said I wasn’t an Indian because I was a Lumbee.”

Not really Indians? How could this be said of the largest American Indian group east of the Mississippi? The ninth-largest in the United States, with nearly 50,000 members, according to the Bureau of the Census. About 4,300 of them are in Maryland.

The question of identity has troubled the Lumbees for more than a century, but it may be resolved this year if Congress approves a bill introduced by Rep. Charles Rose III, D-N.C., to extend full recognition to the tribe.

It’s not that Mrs. Jeffrey is uncertain about who she is. Nor is Mr. Hunt…

Read the entire article here.

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W.T. Jones — Carthage’s best-kept secret: From slave to industrialist in the South

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-03-27 01:57Z by Steven

W.T. Jones — Carthage’s best-kept secret: From slave to industrialist in the South

The Courier-Tribune
Ashboro, North Carolina
2016-03-15

Judi Brinegar


(Contributed photo)

He was born the son of a slave and her white owner in 1833. By time time of his death in 1910, William T. Jones was one of the prominent business owners in Carthage. He rubbed elbows with the elite, white, upper class in Moore County during the 1880s, dined with them, threw elaborate holiday parties where most of the guests were white, and even attended church with them. Both of his wives, Sophia Isabella McLean and Florence Dockery were white. Dockery was the daughter of a well-to-do Apex family.

Yet, until a decade ago, few in this small Moore County town acknowledged out loud that Jones was not a white man.

Then, Pat Motz-Frazier entered the scene in 2005. She purchased Jones home, built in 1880 for his wife, Florence, and today runs it as a bed and breakfast, aptly named “The Old Buggy Inn.”

“He built this huge elaborate house because he and his wife wanted to fill it with children,” Motz-Frazier says. “Unfortunately, they never had any.”

Motz-Frazier ran into many brick walls while trying to research the history of her historic Victorian home. Many of those she asked, declined to acknowledge that Jones, president of the Tyson & Jones Buggy Company, was anything but a white man, she says. Slowly and methodically, she finally put together the pieces of the puzzle of what was a remarkable story of Jones, one man who, in the 19th century, never let the color of his skin define him…

Read the entire article here.

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WELL! WELL!

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-03-16 22:41Z by Steven

WELL! WELL!

Goldsboro Weekly Argus
Goldsboro, North Carolina
Thursday, 1895-02-28 (Volume XVI, Number 67)
page 1, column 3
Source: Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. United States Library of Congress.

Well, well, well!

“Where are we at?”

The sudden death of Frederick Douglas, the foremost negro in America, not by deserts but by the combination of fortuitous circumstances, occurred at his home in Washington, D. C., Wednesday night, and yesterday the Rep-Pop-Fusion House of Representatives of the General Assembly of North Carolina adjourned in his honor.

Fred Douglas as every one knows, was a mulatto, who was born a slave, but ran away at the age of 21 and made good his escape to New York. He had acquired a pretty fair education in his slavery days, which aided him in engineering his escape and helped him in his thus acquired freedom to gain notoriety. He leaped into prominence at one bound—at an anti-slavery meeting in Nantucket in 1841, where he made a speech, and delivered himself with such force and venom against the South that he was at once employed by the “Massachusetts Anti-Slavery League” to take the lecture field m behalf of the emancipation movement, that culminated in the war between the States.

After the war Douglas pressed himself into the field of politics, with his past prestige to give him force, and was made secretary of the San Domingo Commission, in 1871, under President Grant; and in 1872 he was one of the Republican Presidential electors of New York.

Subsequently he was for a number of years, until the Republicans went out of power, Register of Deeds for the District of Columbia, and while incumbent of that office married a white woman.

When President Harrison came into power he made Douglas U.S. Minister to Hayti.

This is the record in brief of the man who, though a negro himself, eschewed his own race and attempted to promulgate amalgamation, by marrying a white wife:—this is the man, “neither fish nor fowl,” as to race, but very foul always in his abuse of the South, in whose “honor” the lower House of the General Assembly of North Carolina, by the majority vote of its Rep-Pop fusion contingent, adjourned yesterday.

Wonder what Senator Marion Butler’s Etheopean will have to say about this action of his Russell-Pearson-Skinner Butler-Kitchen-ridden “Co-operative” Legislature.

Truly are we fallen on strange times in North Carolina.

Miscegenation Endorsed.

Several weeks ago a proposition was made in the General Assembly to adjourn in honor of Robert E. Lee, on the occasion of his birthday. This resolution was voted down, although by enactment of a prior Legislature Gen. Lee’s birthday is a public holiday in the State, and the public buildings are closed on that day.

Yesterday a resolution was introduced to adjourn until 10 o’clock on Saturday in order to pay respect to the memory of George Washington, whose birthday is also a legal holiday. This was voted down.

At the same session that the resolution to adjourn in honor of Washington was voted down, the following resolution, introduced by Crews, colored, of Granville, was adopted:

Whereas, The late Frederick Douglass departed this life on the 20 inst.; and whereas, we greatly deplore the same; now, therefore,

Resolved, That when this House adjourn, it adjourn in respect to the memory of the deceased.

These three dates—the birth of Lee, the birth of Washington, and the death of Douglass are compassed in one month. This General Assembly, deliberately and after debate, voted down the resolutions to honor the memory of the Father of his country, and Robt. E. Lee, who, with Grant, was among the heroes of Chepultapec, and the commander of the armies of the South, but put on record, in the journals of the House, a resolution of adjournment “in respect to the memory of Frederick Douglass.”

This action is equivalent to saying:

“Washington—
Lee—
Douglas—
these three, but the greatest of these is Douglas.”

This action, more correctly than any other official proceeding of this Legislature, shows the spirit of this body.

Fusion is a marriage of two parties having no principles in common.

The endorsement of the miscegenation leader is the legitimate heir of this union. —Raleigh News & Observer

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White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2015-10-05 15:41Z by Steven

White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

StarNews Online
Wilmington, North Carolina
2015-10-03

Beverly Smalls

In June, as Rachel Dolezal of Spokane, Wash., confused members of the NAACP as well as her family, friends and the public about her choice to identify as an African-American, new conversations began.

Dolezal was accused of being a white person trying to pass as a black person. She stepped down as head of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane.

Ironically, Americans of mixed heritage who appeared to be white in past centuries could gain better socio-economic opportunities by relocating to regions far from relatives known to be part African or Native American.

Unlike Dolezal, they preferred the advantages of being classified as white.

A different term, “mulatto,” defined those of mixed race, often with one white and one black parent.

If it were known, one drop of Indian or African blood in a family line could propel an individual or group of people into a lifetime of forced segregation and disadvantages in a minority community.

Having pale African-American skin could have provided advantages or separations from other black people, according to a 1930s Federal Writers’ Project.

A Wilmington man known as “Uncle Jackson,” born in 1851 and interviewed for the New Deal writers’ project, reported that there were lots of “mulatto Negros” in this region. Having a father who was part Indian and a mother who was considered mulatto, Jackson said he was not allowed to even play with “common chil’en,” white or colored.

Bygone cultural identity practices in 20th century Wilmington resulted in notable memories from descendants of mixed-race families…

Read the entire article here.

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President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-13 01:37Z by Steven

President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

The New York Times Magazine
2015-08-12

Barack Obama, President of the United States
Washington, D.C.


Illustration by Ben Wiseman

For the cover story of our Aug. 2 issue, Jim Rutenberg wrote about efforts over the last 50 years to dismantle the protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark piece of legislation that cleared barriers between black voters and the ballot. The story surveyed a broad sweep of history and characters, from United States Chief Justice John Roberts to ordinary citizens like 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton, a plaintiff in the current North Carolina case arguing to repeal voting restrictions enacted in 2013. The magazine received an unusual volume of responses to this article, most notably from President Barack Obama.

I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s “A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.”

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. …” It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change…

…I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves…

Read the entire article here.

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A Look At People’s ‘Race Experience’ In NC

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-15 19:42Z by Steven

A Look At People’s ‘Race Experience’ In NC

WUNC 91.5, North Carolina Public Radio
2015-05-15

Charlie Shelton, Digital News Producer

We recently released a survey asking people about their experience with race in North Carolina. The responses ranged from personal stories on race’s influence in daily interactions to how race is affecting public opinion. From the state’s rural communities to its larger cities, people recognized that race relations are changing, but we still have a ways to go.

Here are some of the responses:…

Michi Vojta, 44 years old, Raleigh

“As a mixed race person (mother from Japan), I can generally “pass“, as it was called — people don’t often notice, or care, about my non-white heritage.

Years ago I visited a friend living in Columbia, NC. As a teacher she went to work and I hung out killing time and went for a jog. I thought it was odd how there were two gas stations from the same exact company on the same road within spitting distance. I was telling her where I jogged, and she asked what I thought were odd questions: ‘Did the folks seem surprised to see you?’ I thought, ‘Gosh, it can’t be that small a town, right?’…

Read the entire article here.

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Wrightsville Beach alderman pressured to resign after insult against bartender

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-04-22 19:51Z by Steven

Wrightsville Beach alderman pressured to resign after insult against bartender

StarNews
Wilmington, North Carolina
2015-04-17

Julian March

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH | Alderman Darryl Mills is facing pressure to resign after he used derogatory language to a bartender last month.

Mills made the comment to Mia Banks while she was working at King Neptune Restaurant on North Lumina Avenue.

In an interview, Mills confirmed he called Banks a “mixed breed” and used an expletive. He said he and Banks have had a bantering and teasing relationship for years.

“That night, as soon as it happened, I saw that it bothered her, hurt her, and I apologized immediately and left,” Mills said. He later apologized a second time in an email.

He has no plans to resign. “I think this is a personal matter,” he said. “It has nothing to do with Wrightsville Beach.”

Banks agreed she had a bantering relationship with Mills, but said that would be true with all of her customers, especially regulars.

She said she had not discussed her race with Mills before his comment. Her mother is Polish and Italian and her father is African-American.

“I was humiliated,” Banks said. “I was degraded.”…

Read the entire article here.

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