Talk:Free negro

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Definition[edit]

A Free Negro was a non-citizen who lived in the United States prior to 1870. Some Free Negroes were former slaves, usually called "Freedmen." Other Free Negroes were the offspring of former slaves; who were free since birth. If a slave bore a child, the child was also a slave; if a Free Negro bore a child, the child was a Free Negro (but not a citizen of the United States). In general, Free Negroes did not pay taxes, vote, or own land. Many Free Negroes lived by toiling at work which was physically demanding, while Americans paid taxes, voted, and owned land. Typically, Free Negroes paid rent or lived in poorhouses. Superslum 20:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

History of Freeman and Freedman[edit]

In the most general acceptance of these terms, the first implies one who has inherited the full privileges and immunities of citizenship; the second, one who has been delivered from the restraints of bondage, but who, usually is not placed in a position of full social or even political equality with one who was born free.
With the Romans the equivalent for freeman (liber homo) comprehended all classes of those who were not slaves; but the distinction was preserved by the application of the term ingenuus to him who was born free, and of libertinus to him who, being born in servitude, was emancipated. [1]
The idea of a freeman was by no means peculiar to the Roman or Romanized population of Europe; on the contrary, it belonged to the constitution of society in all the Indo-Germanic nations. Among those branches of them commonly known as Teutonic, it was generally based on the possession of some portion of the soil. [2]
Thus in Anglo-Saxon England "the freeman was strictly the freeholder, and the exercise of his full rights as a free member of the community to which he belonged became inseparable from the possession of his holding in it." [3] Superslum 20:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

The Free Negro and the Freeman in the United States lived amongst land-owners who were Americans because of their ownership of land. Land-owners exercised their full rights as free members of the community to which they belonged (as in England). Free Negroes did not own land, therefore, they were not citizens. Superslum 20:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

757,208 Negroes (mostly slaves) were counted in the first census of the United States in 1790. The number accounted for 19.3% of the total population. (An estimation made by me, is that the number of free Negroes was roughly 30,000 in 1790). The number of land-owners amongst them was approximately zero, therefore, the numbers of citizens amongst them was approximately zero. Superslum 20:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Legal standing[edit]

Free Negroes were legally called Free Negroes. Mulattoes were a type of Free Negro that appeared on legal documents in some of the States of the United States. Slaves, also, appeared on legal documents.

Legal documents are a part of the history of the United States, therefore, they cannot be made to vanish into thin air simply by changing Free Negroes into "free blacks." Who are the odd people who insist on describing Free Negroes inaccurately, stupidly, and casually? Superslum 20:53, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Merger proposed (Cyprian Ricard)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The result was: Merge. I have merged the text and will propose Cyprian Ricard for deletion. --B. Wolterding 15:40, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


I propose to merge the content of Cyprian Ricard into here. While the content in that article is verifiable against multiple sources, all sources mention him in just one or two sentences, which does not suffice to write a biography. Still, as an example of a freedman who himself owned slaves, the information might be included here.

Please add your comments below. Proposed as part of the Notability wikiproject. --B. Wolterding 10:05, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea. If we ever find a biography for this guy with notable historical information we can always recreate the article. However, can we make sure that his page doesn't end up redirecting to "free negro" that would be weird. futurebird 13:25, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Sure, the redirect can be avoided. --B. Wolterding 15:47, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


merge:Free NegroFree people of color[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
No consensus as per Talk:Free people of color. -- P 1 9 9 • TALK 18:23, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

most of the content of this article is pretty much covered in the much more developed proposed target. --emerson7 21:34, 24 November 2008 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Merge "Free Negro" and "Free People of Color"[edit]

I propose that these two sections be merged. It appears that the Free negro article focuses mostly on blacks in America, while the Free people of color article includes information about blacks both in and outside of the US. I propose that these two articles be merged under one name (which name is open for discussion), and have separate subheadings for free blacks in America and free blacks outside of the US. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Howel2468 (talkcontribs) 23:15, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Major Article Revision[edit]

I am doing a major revision to this article. I am adding subsections that were not previously there and i am adding much more detail. I have greatly expanded the section on notable free blacks because it was missing some of the most famous examples, i.e. Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. I have taken out some information that was poorly organized and restructured the information that was there to reflect a more chronological history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Howel2468 (talkcontribs) 21:59, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Notable free Negroes[edit]

  • Deleted Elizabeth Freeman, as she was a slave when she challenged the state.Parkwells (talk) 18:53, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Reorganization[edit]

The sections are hard to follow, as the history appears in one place, then historical sections are added that refer to earlier periods. I found it difficult to follow. Perhaps it should all be organized chronologically - at least put discussions about culture and social issues before the Civil War before sections that deal with society in the North and South after the war.Parkwells (talk) 18:53, 13 November 2013 (UTC)