Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro In The Antebellum South
New Press (2007)
John Malveaux of
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is reported to be a prodigious accomplishment in documenting American history. I will visit the Museum later this year with great anticipation to learn about FREE Blacks. As a 74 year old, i acquired an interest and pursuit of Black history as a teenager and community activist. In October 2007, i flew to Detroit to attend a Jessye Norman recital at the Detroit Opera House and meet the gracious Ms Norman. Additionally, i visited the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History and experienced the foremost exhibition on slavery i have ever witnessed to date. An unforgettable shocking statistical revelation came at the end of the comprehensive interactive exhibit. FREE African Americans in Southern States outnumber slaves in each Southern state at the start of the Civil War before the Emancipation Proclamation. The actual numbers were cited in each Southern State. These statistics flipped my perspective. Some of the immediate questions that came to mind were: where is the information about Free Black towns, social organizations, financial institutions, occupations, customs, schools, and why my education through 4 year University only told the slave narrative. A confirming source for statistics referencing Free Negroes may be found in a book by the great historian Ira Berlin. See Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (initially published in 1974, and reissued by the New Press in 2007).