. Read Pages 80 and 81
2. Provide background information (who, what, when, where and why) on the article’s purpose.
3. Why do you think “Free Persons of Color” are usually absent from the story of colonial America?
4. In today’s world, should democratic nations be able to deprive minority groups of their rights?
IMPORTANT NOTES THAT WILL GUIDE YOU WHEN WRITING THIS ASSIGNMENT
Free people of color were the descendants of African slaves who had been freed and able to marry, but they did not have full rights. “Free” people existed in different forms throughout colonial America: Some were members of society, while others were not allowed to work or own property. The concept of free people is complicated because there was no universal definition for them (more on this later).
Free people of color were not respected by their white counterparts because they were free and proud. They did not consider themselves part of the community, which meant that they did not want to be a part of the community.
This lack of inclusion was one reason why free people of color stayed away from public spaces like churches and schools.
The Free Persons of Color were not automatically considered full members of society. They had to pay taxes, could not vote, and could be arrested for crimes against whites. If a Free Person testified against a white person in court (something which was very rare), then the testimony would not be admissible as evidence because it was obtained under false pretenses.
They also did not own land because their status as “Free Persons” meant that they weren’t considered citizens–they couldn’t own property or vote on laws affecting their land holdings. This is why so many people thought that owning slaves was more important than being part of the community!
Free people of color were not a monolithic group, but rather a diverse group of individuals who had different experiences based on their race, class and gender.
For example: Some free or enslaved people of African descent could be considered free because they were born into slavery or had parents who were formerly enslaved. Others did not experience the same level of oppression as those born into bondage because they were able to pass for white–and therefore gain access to certain privileges denied them by virtue of their skin color alone (for example: running for political office). This is why we see some very prominent figures like William Henry Burghardt Du Bois (who later went on to become known as W.E.B.) who was raised in a family that owned slaves but never felt comfortable with his own status as an African American citizen because he was technically “free.”
Free people of color were often excluded from the economic system, since they could not participate fully in it. They had more freedom of choice than slaves and indentured servants, but they didn’t have full rights.
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