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

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs on 2021-07-15 20:26Z 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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Free People of Color History Conversation (Zoom Virtual Event)

Posted in Forthcoming Media, 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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2019-11-20 02:21Z by Steven

Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

World Socialist Web Site
2019-10-30

Eric London


Victoria Bynum

An interview with the author of The Free State of Jones

Historian Victoria Bynum, author of The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) and Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), spoke to the World Socialist Web Site’s Eric London on the historical falsifications involved in the New York Times’1619 Project.”

The 1619 Project, launched by the Times in August, presents American history in a purely racial lens and blames all “white people” for the enslavement of 4 million black people as chattel property.

Bynum is an expert on the attitude of Southern white yeomen farmers and impoverished people toward slavery. Her book The Free State of Jones studied efforts by anti-slavery and anti-confederate militia leader Newton Knight, who abandoned the Confederate army and led an armed insurrection against the Confederacy during the Civil War. It was adapted for the big screen in Gary Ross’s 2016 film Free State of Jones.

* * *

WSWS: Hello Victoria, it is a pleasure to speak to you. The New York Times writes that slavery is “America’s national sin,” implying that the whole of American society was responsible for the crime of slavery.

But [Abraham] Lincoln said in his second inaugural address in 1865 that the Civil War was being fought “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.” What was the attitude of the subjects of your study toward slavery? Is it possible to separate those attitudes from the economic grievances that many white farmers and poor people harbored against the Confederate government of the slavocracy?

Victoria Bynum: Direct comments about the injustice of slavery are rare among plain Southern farmers who left few written records. Knowing this at the outset of my research, I was delighted to find clear and strong objections to slavery expressed by the Wesleyan Methodist families of Montgomery County, North Carolina, which I highlighted in my first book, Unruly Women. In 1852, members of the Lovejoy Methodist Church invited the Rev. Adam Crooks, a well-known abolitionist, to address their church…

WSWS: Do you see parallels between the New York Times’ references to genetics (the historic “DNA” of the United States) and the argument, advanced by the slavocracy, that “one drop” of black “blood” was enough to count a light-skinned person in the expanded the pool of slave labor. Can you expand on this?

VB: The frequent correlation of identity with ancestral DNA continues to mask the historical economic forces and shifting constructions of class, race and gender that have far more relevance to one’s identity than one’s DNA can ever reveal. Historically, race-based slavery required legal definitions of whiteness and blackness that upheld the fiction that British/US slavery was reserved for Africans for whom the institution “civilized.” From the earliest days of colonization, however, both forced and consensual sexual relations created slaveholding and non-slaveholding households that were neither “black” nor “white,” but rather were mixed-race. The frequent rape of enslaved women by slaveholders produced multitudes of such children, but so also were many mixed-race children born to whites and free blacks. Slave law dictated that the child of an enslaved woman was also a slave—and therefore “black”—regardless of who fathered the child. Conversely, deciding the race of children born to free women who crossed the color line was not so easy, and became even more difficult after slavery was abolished. In the segregated South, where one’s ability to work, live, love, travel and enjoy the full benefits of American citizenship depended on one’s perceived race, such questions might end up in court, as was the case in 1946 for Newt Knight’s mixed-race great-grandson, Davis Knight, after he married a white woman. While custom dictated that Davis Knight was “black” based on his great-grandmother Rachel’s mixed-race status, state laws required more precise evidence. Under Mississippi law, unless one was proved to have at least one-fourth African ancestry, one was legally—though not socially—white. On this basis, Davis Knight went free…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mulattoes Cannot Vote Under the “Grandfather Clause.”

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-06-02 01:17Z by Steven

Mulattoes Cannot Vote Under the Grandfather Clause.

The Progressive Farmer
Winston, North Carolina
Tuesday, 1902-09-30
page 5, column 4
Source: Chronicling America (ISSN 2475-2703), Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Thumbnail for 5

The Observer is in receipt of the following from a friend at Carthage:

“A question which is having some discussion here is: Can a mulatto whose father was a white man register under the ‘grandfather clause?’”

Now it is a generally accepted fact that most mulattoes are such from the fact that their fathers and not their mothers were white. Would this general application be sufficient grounds for a general mulatto registration? If not, could a mulatto whose mother was a negro but whose father is unknown register according to law? Is the burden upon the applicant for registration to prove that his father was a white man and could vote prior to 1867?

“Your subscribers would be pleased to have you give some editorial answers and explanations to the above questions. I am certain such would be of interest to many people throughout the State at this time and the independence of your paper renders it the logical medium through which such information can do the most good.”

Assuming that the mulatto was the illegitimate son of a white man (which must be assumed, as marriages between whites and blacks is and was unlawful) the mulatto could not vote, as the law does not recognize that an illegitimate has any father and unless the said mulatto is otherwise qualified he cannot get in under the “grandfather clause.”

As nearly all negroes were slaves prior to their emancipation the presumption is that the grandfather of any mulatto was disqualified from voting prior to 1868, and the burden rests upon him to show to the contrary before he shall be entitled to register or vote. —Charlotte Observer.

Tags: , , , , , ,