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A Century of Negro Migration by Carter G. Woodson

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[Transcriber's note: The spelling inconsistencies of the original are
preserved in this etext.]


Carter G. Woodson






In treating this movement of the Negroes, the writer does not presume to
say the last word on the subject. The exodus of the Negroes from the South
has just begun. The blacks have recently realized that they have freedom
of body and they will now proceed to exercise that right. To presume,
therefore, to exhaust the treatment of this movement in its incipiency is
far from the intention of the writer. The aim here is rather to direct
attention to this new phase of Negro American life which will doubtless
prove to be the most significant event in our local history since the
Civil War.

Many of the facts herein set forth have seen light before. The effort here
is directed toward an original treatment of facts, many of which have
already periodically appeared in some form. As these works, however, are
too numerous to be consulted by the layman, the writer has endeavored to
present in succinct form the leading facts as to how the Negroes in the
United States have struggled under adverse circumstances to flee from
bondage and oppression in quest of a land offering asylum to the oppressed
and opportunity to the unfortunate. How they have often been deceived has
been carefully noted.

With the hope that this volume may interest another worker to the extent
of publishing many other facts in this field, it is respectfully submitted
to the public.


Washington, D.C., March 31, 1918.


I.--Finding a Place of Refuge

II.--A Transplantation to the North

III.--Fighting it out on Free Soil

IV.--Colonization as a Remedy for Migration

V.--The Successful Migrant

VI.--Confusing Movements

VII.--The Exodus to the West

VIII.--The Migration of the Talented Tenth

IX.--The Exodus during the World War




Map Showing the Per Cent of Negroes in Total Population, by States: 1910

Diagram Showing the Negro Population of Northern and Western Cities in
1900 and 1910

Maps Showing Counties in Southern States in which Negroes Formed 50 Per
Cent of the Total Population



The migration of the blacks from the Southern States to those offering
them better opportunities is nothing new. The objective here, therefore,
will be not merely to present the causes and results of the recent
movement of the Negroes to the North but to connect this event with the
periodical movements of the blacks to that section, from about the year
1815 to the present day. That this movement should date from that period
indicates that the policy of the commonwealths towards the Negro must have
then begun decidedly to differ so as to make one section of the country
more congenial to the despised blacks than the other. As a matter of fact,
to justify this conclusion, we need but give passing mention here to
developments too well known to be discussed in detail. Slavery in the
original thirteen States was the normal condition of the Negroes. When,
however, James Otis, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson began to discuss
the natural rights of the colonists, then said to be oppressed by Great
Britain, some of the patriots of the Revolution carried their reasoning to
its logical conclusion, contending that the Negro slaves should be freed
on the same grounds, as their rights were also founded in the laws of
nature.[1] And so it was soon done in most Northern commonwealths.

Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts exterminated the institution by
constitutional provision and Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New
York and Pennsylvania by gradual emancipation acts.[2] And it was thought
that the institution would soon thereafter pass away even in all southern
commonwealths except South Carolina and Georgia, where it had seemingly
become profitable. There came later the industrial revolution following
the invention of Watt's steam engine and mechanical appliances like
Whitney's cotton gin, all which changed the economic aspect of the modern
world, making slavery an institution offering means of exploitation to
those engaged in the production of cotton. This revolution rendered
necessary a large supply of cheap labor for cotton culture, out of which
the plantation system grew. The Negro slaves, therefore, lost all hope of
ever winning their freedom in South Carolina and Georgia; and in Maryland,
Virginia, and North Carolina, where the sentiment in favor of abolition
had been favorable, there was a decided reaction which soon blighted their
hopes.[3] In the Northern commonwealths, however, the sentiment in behalf
of universal freedom, though at times dormant, was ever apparent despite
the attachment to the South of the trading classes of northern cities,
which profited by the slave trade and their commerce with the slaveholding
States. The Northern States maintaining this liberal attitude developed,
therefore, into an asylum for the Negroes who were oppressed in the South.

The Negroes, however, were not generally welcomed in the North. Many of
the northerners who sympathized with the oppressed blacks in the South
never dreamt of having them as their neighbors. There were, consequently,
always two classes of anti-slavery people, those who advocated the
abolition of slavery to elevate the blacks to the dignity of citizenship,
and those who merely hoped to exterminate the institution because it was
an economic evil.[4] The latter generally believed that the blacks
constituted an inferior class that could not discharge the duties of
citizenship, and when the proposal to incorporate the blacks into the body
politic was clearly presented to these agitators their anti-slavery ardor
was decidedly dampened. Unwilling, however, to take the position that a
race should be doomed because of personal objections, many of the early
anti-slavery group looked toward colonization for a solution of this
problem.[5] Some thought of Africa, but since the deportation of a large
number of persons who had been brought under the influence of modern
civilization seemed cruel, the most popular colonization scheme at first
seemed to be that of settling the Negroes on the public lands in the West.
As this region had been lately ceded, however, and no one could determine
what use could be made of it by white men, no such policy was generally

When this territory was ceded to the United States an effort to provide
for the government of it finally culminated in the proposed Ordinance of
1784 carrying the provision that slavery should not exist in the Northwest
Territory after the year 1800.[6] This measure finally failed to pass and
fortunately too, thought some, because, had slavery been given sixteen
years of growth on that soil, it might not have been abolished there until
the Civil War or it might have caused such a preponderance of slave
commonwealths as to make the rebellion successful. The Ordinance of 1784
was antecedent to the more important Ordinance of 1787, which carried the
famous sixth article that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except
as a punishment for crime should exist in that territory. At first, it was
generally deemed feasible to establish Negro colonies on that domain. Yet
despite the assurance of the Ordinance of 1787 conditions were such that
one could not determine exactly whether the Northwest Territory would be
slave or free.[7]

What then was the situation in this partly unoccupied territory? Slavery
existed in what is now the Northwest Territory from the time of the early
exploration and settlement of that region by the French. The first slaves
of white men were Indians. Though it is true that the red men usually
chose death rather than slavery, there were some of them that bowed to the
yoke. So many Pawnee Indians became bondsmen that the word _Pani_
became synonymous with slave in the West.[8] Western Indians themselves,
following the custom of white men, enslaved their captives in war rather
than choose the alternative of putting them to death. In this way they
were known to hold a number of blacks and whites.

The enslavement of the black man by the whites in this section dates from
the early part of the eighteenth century. Being a part of the Louisiana
Territory which under France extended over the whole Mississippi Valley as
far as the Allegheny mountains, it was governed by the same colonial
regulations.[9] Slavery, therefore, had legal standing in this territory.
When Antoine Crozat, upon being placed in control of Louisiana, was
authorized to begin a traffic in slaves, Crozat himself did nothing to
carry out his plan. But in 1717 when the control of the colony was
transferred to the _Compagnie de l'Occident_ steps were taken toward
the importation of slaves. In 1719, when 500 Guinea Negroes were brought
over to serve in Lower Louisiana, Philip Francis Renault imported 500
other bondsmen into Upper Louisiana or what was later included in the
Northwest Territory. Slavery then became more and more extensive until by
1750 there were along the Mississippi five settlements of slaves,
Kaskaskia, Kaokia, Fort Chartres, St. Phillipe and Prairie du Rocher.[10]
In 1763 Negroes were relatively numerous in the Northwest Territory but
when this section that year was transferred to the British the number was
diminished by the action of those Frenchmen who, unwilling to become
subjects of Great Britain, moved from the territory.[11] There was no
material increase in the slave population thereafter until the end of the
eighteenth century when some Negroes came from the original thirteen.

The Ordinance of 1787 did not disturb the relation of slave and master.
Some pioneers thought that the sixth article exterminated slavery there;
others contended that it did not. The latter believed that such
expressions in the Ordinance of 1787 as the "free inhabitants" and the
"free male inhabitants of full size" implied the continuance of slavery
and others found ground for its perpetuation in that clause of the
Ordinance which allowed the people of the territory to adopt the
constitution and laws of any one of the thirteen States. Students of law
saw protection for slavery in Jay's treaty which guaranteed to the
settlers their property of all kinds.[12] When, therefore, the slave
question came up in the Northwest Territory about the close of the
eighteenth century, there were three classes of slaves: first, those who
were in servitude to French owners previous to the cession of the
Territory to England and were still claimed as property in the possession
of which the owners were protected under the treaty of 1763; second, those
who were held by British owners at the time of Jay's treaty and claimed
afterward as property under its protection; and third, those who, since
the Territory had been controlled by the United States, had been brought
from the commonwealths in which slavery was allowed.[13] Freedom, however,
was recognized as the ultimate status of the Negro in that territory.

This question having been seemingly settled, Anthony Benezet, who for
years advocated the abolition of slavery and devoted his time and means to
the preparation of the Negroes for living as freedmen, was practical
enough to recommend to the Congress of the Confederation a plan of
colonizing the emancipated blacks on the western lands.[14] Jefferson
incorporated into his scheme for a modern system of public schools the
training of the slaves in industrial and agricultural branches to equip
them for a higher station in life. He believed, however, that the blacks
not being equal to the white race should not be assimilated and should
they be free, they should, by all means, be colonized afar off.[15]
Thinking that the western lands might be so used, he said in writing to
James Monroe in 1801: "A very great extent of country north of the Ohio
has been laid off in townships, and is now at market, according to the
provisions of the act of Congress.... There is nothing," said he, "which
would restrain the State of Virginia either in the purchase or the
application of these lands."[16] Yet he raised the question as to whether
the establishment of such a colony within our limits and to become a part
of the Union would be desirable. He thought then of procuring a place
beyond the limits of the United States on our northern boundary, by
purchasing the Indian lands with the consent of Great Britain. He then
doubted that the black race would live in such a rigorous climate.

This plan did not easily pass from the minds of the friends of the slaves,
for in 1805 Thomas Brannagan asserted in his _Serious Remonstrances_
that the government should appropriate a few thousand acres of land at
some distant part of the national domains for the Negroes' accommodation
and support. He believed that the new State might be established upwards
of 2,000 miles from our frontier.[17] A copy of the pamphlet containing
this proposition was sent to Thomas Jefferson, who was impressed thereby,
but not having the courage to brave the torture of being branded as a
friend of the slave, he failed to give it his support.[18] The same
question was brought prominently before the public again in 1816 when
there was presented to the House of Representatives a memorial from the
Kentucky Abolition Society praying that the free people of color be
colonized on the public lands. The committee to whom the memorial was
referred for consideration reported that it was expedient to refuse the
request on the ground that, as such lands were not granted to free white
men, they saw no reason for granting them to others.[19]

Some Negro slaves unwilling to wait to be carried or invited to the
Northwest Territory escaped to that section even when it was controlled by
the French prior to the American Revolution. Slaves who reached the West
by this route caused trouble between the French and the British colonists.
Advertising in 1746 for James Wenyam, a slave, Richard Colgate, his
master, said that he swore to a Negro whom he endeavored to induce to go
with him, that he had often been in the backwoods with his master and that
he would go to the French and Indians and fight for them.[20] In an
advertisement for a mulatto slave in 1755 Thomas Ringold, his master,
expressed fear that he had escaped by the same route to the French. He,
therefore, said: "It seems to be the interest, at least, of every
gentleman that has slaves, to be active in the beginning of these
attempts, for whilst we have the French such near neighbors, we shall not
have the least security in that kind of property."[21]

The good treatment which these slaves received among the French, and
especially at Pittsburgh the gateway to the Northwest Territory, tended to
make that city an asylum for those slaves who had sufficient spirit of
adventure to brave the wilderness through which they had to go. Negroes
even then had the idea that there was in this country a place of more
privilege than those they enjoyed in the seaboard colonies. Knowing of the
likelihood of the Negroes to rise during the French and Indian War,
Governor Dinwiddie wrote Fox one of the Secretaries of State in 1756: "We
dare not venture to part with any of our white men any distance, as we
must have a watchful eye over our Negro slaves, who are upward of one
hundred thousand."[22] Brissot de Warville mentions in his _Travels of
1788_ several examples of marriages of white and blacks in Pittsburgh.
He noted the case of a Negro who married an indentured French servant
woman. Out of this union came a desirable mulatto girl who married a
surgeon of Nantes then stationed at Pittsburgh. His family was considered
one of the most respectable of the city. The Negro referred to was doing a
creditable business and his wife took it upon herself to welcome
foreigners, especially the French, who came that way. Along the Ohio also
there were several cases of women of color living with unmarried white men;
but this was looked upon by the Negroes as detestable as was evidenced by
the fact that, if black women had a quarrel with a mulatto woman, the
former would reproach the latter for being of ignoble blood.[23]

These tendencies, however, could not assure the Negro that the Northwest
Territory was to be an asylum for freedom when in 1763 it passed into the
hands of the British, the promoters of the slave trade, and later to the
independent colonies, two of which had no desire to exterminate slavery.
Furthermore, when the Ordinance of 1787 with its famous sixth article
against slavery was proclaimed, it was soon discovered that this document
was not necessarily emancipatory. As the right to hold slaves was
guaranteed to those who owned them prior to the passage of the Ordinance
of 1787, it was to be expected that those attached to that institution
would not indifferently see it pass away. Various petitions, therefore,
were sent to the territorial legislature and to Congress praying that the
sixth article of the Ordinance of 1787 be abrogated.[24] No formal action
to this effect was taken, but the practice of slavery was continued even
at the winking of the government. Some slaves came from the Canadians who,
in accordance with the slave trade laws of the British Empire, were
supplied with bondsmen. It was the Canadians themselves who provided by
act of parliament in 1793 for prohibiting the importation of slaves and
for gradual emancipation. When it seemed later that the cause of freedom
would eventually triumph the proslavery element undertook to perpetuate
slavery through a system of indentured servant labor.

In the formation of the States of Indiana and Illinois the question as to
what should be done to harmonize with the new constitution the system of
indenture to which the territorial legislatures had been committed, caused
heated debate and at times almost conflict. Both Indiana[25] and
Illinois[26] finally incorporated into their constitutions compromise
provisions for a nominal prohibition of slavery modified by clauses for
the continuation of the system of indentured labor of the Negroes held to
service. The proslavery party persistently struggled for some years to
secure by the interpretation of the laws, by legislation and even by
amending the constitution so to change the fundamental law as to provide
for actual slavery. These States, however, gradually worked toward freedom
in keeping with the spirit of the majority who framed the constitution,
despite the fact that the indenture system in southern Illinois and
especially in Indiana was at times tantamount to slavery as it was
practiced in parts of the South.

It must be borne in mind here, however, that the North at this time was
far from becoming a place of refuge for Negroes. In the first place, the
industrial revolution had not then had time to reduce the Negroes to the
plane of beasts in the cotton kingdom. The rigorous climate and the
industries of the northern people, moreover, were not inviting to the
blacks and the development of the carrying trade and the rise of
manufacturing there did not make that section more attractive to unskilled
labor. Furthermore, when we consider the fact that there were many
thousands of Negroes in the Southern States the presence of a few in the
North must be regarded as insignificant. This paucity of blacks then
obtained especially in the Northwest Territory, for its French inhabitants
instead of being an exploiting people were pioneering, having little use
for slaves in carrying out their policy of merely holding the country for
France. Moreover, like certain gentlemen from Virginia, who after the
American Revolution were afraid to bring their slaves with them to occupy
their bounty lands in Ohio, few enterprising settlers from the slave
States had invaded the territory with their Negroes, not knowing whether
or not they would be secure in the possession of such property. When we
consider that in 1810 there were only 102,137 Negroes in the North and no
more than 3,454 in the Northwest Territory, we must look to the second
decade of the nineteenth century for the beginning of the migration of the
Negroes in the United States.

[Footnote 1: Locke, _Anti-Slavery_, pp. 19, 20, 23; _Works of John
Woolman_, pp. 58, 73; and Moore, _Notes on Slavery in Massachusetts_,
p. 71.]

[Footnote 2: Bassett, _Federalist System_, chap. xii. Hart,
_Slavery and Abolition_, pp. 153, 154.]

[Footnote 3: Turner, _The Rise of the New West_, pp. 45, 46, 47, 48,
49; Hammond, _Cotton Industry_, chaps. i and ii; Scherer, _Cotton
as a World Power_, pp. 168, 175.]

[Footnote 4: Locke, _Anti-Slavery_, chaps. i and ii.]

[Footnote 5: Jay, _An Inquiry_, p. 30.]

[Footnote 6: Ford edition, _Jefferson's Writings_, III, p. 432.]

[Footnote 7: For the passage of this ordinance three reasons have been
given: Slavery then prior to the invention of the cotton gin was
considered a necessary evil in the South. The expected monopoly of the
tobacco and indigo cultivation in the South would be promoted by excluding
Negroes from the Northwest Territory and thus preventing its cultivation
there. Dr. Cutler's influence aided by Mr. Grayson of Virginia was of much
assistance. The philanthropic idea was not so prominent as men have
thought.--Dunn, _Indiana_, p. 212.]

[Footnote 8: _Ibid_., p. 254.]

[Footnote 9: _Code Noir_.]

[Footnote 10: Speaking of these settlements in 1750, M. Viner, a Jesuit
Missionary to the Indians, said: "We have here Whites, Negroes, and
Indians, to say nothing of cross-breeds--There are five French villages
and three villages of the natives within a space of twenty-one leagues--In
the five French villages there are perhaps eleven hundred whites, three
hundred blacks, and some sixty red slaves or savages." Unlike the
condition of the slaves in Lower Louisiana where the rigid enforcement of
the Slave Code made their lives almost intolerable, the slaves of the
Northwest Territory were for many reasons much more fortunate. In the
first place, subject to the control of a mayor-commandant appointed by the
Governor of New Orleans, the early dwellers in this territory managed
their plantations about as they pleased. Moreover, as there were few
planters who owned as many as three or four Negroes, slavery in the
Northwest Territory did not get far beyond the patriarchal stage. Slaves
were usually well fed. The relations between master and slave were
friendly. The bondsmen were allowed special privileges on Sundays and
holidays and their children were taught the catechism according to the
ordinance of Louis XIV in 1724, which provided that all masters should
educate their slaves in the Apostolic Catholic religion and have them
baptized. Male slaves were worked side by side in the fields with their
masters and the female slaves in neat attire went with their mistresses to
matins and vespers. Slaves freely mingled in practically all festive
enjoyments.--See _Jesuit Relations_, LXIX, p. 144; Hutchins, _An
Historical Narrative_, 1784; and _Code Noir_.]

[Footnote 11: Mention was thereafter made of slaves as in the case of
Captain Philip Pittman who in 1770 wrote of one Mr. Beauvais, "who owned
240 orpens of cultivated land and eighty slaves; and such a case as that
of a Captain of a militia at St. Philips, possessing twenty blacks; and
the case of Mr. Bales, a very rich man of St. Genevieve, Illinois, owning
a hundred Negroes, beside having white people constantly employed."--See
Captain Pittman's _The Present State of the European Settlements in the
Mississippi_, 1770.]

[Footnote 12: Dunn, _Indiana_, chap. vi.]

[Footnote 13: Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, p. 350.]

[Footnote 14: _Tyrannical Libertymen_, pp. 10, 11; Locke,
_Anti-Slavery_, pp. 31, 32; Brannagan, _Serious Remonstrance_,
p. 18.]

[Footnote 15: Washington edition of _Jefferson's Writings_, chap. vi,
p. 456, and chap. viii, p. 380.]

[Footnote 16: Ford edition of _Jefferson's Writings_, III, p. 244;
IX, p. 303; X, pp. 76, 290.]

[Footnote 17: Brannagan, _Serious Remonstrances_, p. 18.]

[Footnote 18: Library edition of _Jefferson's Writings_, X, pp. 295,

[Footnote 19: Adams, _Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery_, pp. 129,

[Footnote 20: _The Pennsylvania Gazette_, July 31, 1746.]

[Footnote 21: _The Maryland Gazette_, March 20, 1755.]

[Footnote 22: _Washington's Writings_, II, p. 134.]

[Footnote 23: Brissot de Warville, _New Travels_, II, pp. 33-34.]

[Footnote 24: Harris, _Slavery in Illinois_, chaps. iii, iv, and v;
Dunn, _Indiana_, pp. 218-260; Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, pp.

[Footnote 25: This code provided that all male Negroes under fifteen,
years of age either owned or acquired must remain in servitude until they
reached the age of thirty-five and female slaves until thirty-two. The
male children of such persons held to service could be bound out for
thirty years and the female children for twenty-eight. Slaves brought into
the territory had to comply with contracts for terms of service when their
master registered them within thirty days from the time he brought them
into the territory. Indentured black servants were not exactly sold, but
the law permitted the transfer from one owner to another when the slave
acquiesced in the transfer before a notary, but it was often done without
regard to the slave. They were even bequeathed and sold as personal
property at auction. Notices for sale were frequent. There were rewards
for runaway slaves. Negroes whose terms had almost expired were kidnapped
and sold to New Orleans. The legislature imposed a penalty for such, but
it was not generally enforced. They were taxable property valued according
to the length of service. Negroes served as laborers on farms, house
servants, and in salt mines, the latter being an excuse for holding them
as slaves. Persons of color could purchase servants of their own race. The
law provided that the Justice of the County could on complaint from the
master order that a lazy servant be whipped. In this frontier section,
therefore, where men often took the law in their own hands, slaves were
often punished and abused just as they were in the Southern States. The
law dealing with fugitives was somewhat harsh. When apprehended, fugitives
had to serve two days extra for each day they lost from their master's
service. The harboring of a runaway slave was punishable by a fine of one
day for each the slave might be concealed. Consistently too with the
provision of the laws in most slave States, slaves could retain all goods
or money lawfully acquired during their servitude provided their master
gave his consent. Upon the demonstration of proof to the county court that
they had served their term they could obtain from that tribunal
certificates of freedom. See _The Laws of Indiana_.]

[Footnote 26: Masters had to provide adequate food, and clothing and good
lodging for the slave, but the penalty for failing to comply with this law
was not clear and even if so, it happened that many masters never observed
it. There was also an effort to prevent cruelty to slaves, but it was
difficult to establish the guilt of masters when the slave could not bear
witness against his owner and it was not likely that the neighbor equally
guilty or indifferent to the complaints of the blacks would take their
petitions to court.

Under this system a large number of slaves were brought into the Territory
especially after 1807. There were 135 in 1800. This increase came from
Kentucky and Tennessee. As those brought were largely boys and girls with
a long period of service, this form of slavery was assured for some years.
The children of these blacks were often registered for thirty-five instead
of thirty years of service on the ground that they were not born in
Illinois. No one thought of persecuting a master for holding servants
unlawfully and Negroes themselves could be easily deceived. Very few
settlers brought their slaves there to free them. There were only 749 in
1820. If one considers the proportion of this to the number brought there
for manumission this seems hardly true. It is better to say that during
these first two decades of the nineteenth century some settlers came for
both purposes, some to hold slaves, some, as Edward Coles, to free them.
It was not only practiced in the southern part along the Mississippi and
Ohio but as far north in Illinois as Sangamon County, were found servants
known as "yellow boys" and "colored girls."--See the _Laws of



Just after the settlement of the question of holding the western posts by
the British and the adjustment of the trouble arising from their capture
of slaves during our second war with England, there started a movement of
the blacks to this frontier territory. But, as there were few towns or
cities in the Northwest during the first decades of the new republic, the
flight of the Negro into that territory was like that of a fugitive taking
his chances in the wilderness. Having lost their pioneering spirit in
passing through the ordeal of slavery, not many of the bondmen took flight
in that direction and few free Negroes ventured to seek their fortunes in
those wilds during the period of the frontier conditions, especially when
the country had not then undergone a thorough reaction against the Negro.

The migration of the Negroes, however, received an impetus early in the
nineteenth century. This came from the Quakers, who by the middle of the
eighteenth century had taken the position that all members of their sect
should free their slaves.[1] The Quakers of North Carolina and Virginia
had as early as 1740 taken up the serious question of humanely treating
their Negroes. The North Carolina Quakers advised Friends to emancipate
their slaves, later prohibited traffic in them, forbade their members from
even hiring the blacks out in 1780 and by 1818 had exterminated the
institution among their communicants.[2] After healing themselves of the
sin, they had before the close of the eighteenth century militantly
addressed themselves to the task of abolishing slavery and the slave trade
throughout the world. Differing in their scheme from that of most
anti-slavery leaders, they were advocating the establishment of the
freedmen in society as good citizens and to that end had provided for the
religious and mental instruction of their slaves prior to emancipating

Despite the fact that the Quakers were not free to extend their operations
throughout the colonies, they did much to enable the Negroes to reach free
soil. As the Quakers believed in the freedom of the will, human
brotherhood, and equality before God, they did not, like the Puritans,
find difficulties in solving the problem of elevating the Negroes. Whereas
certain Puritans were afraid that conversion might lead to the destruction
of caste and the incorporation of undesirable persons into the "Body
Politick," the Quakers proceeded on the principle that all men are
brethren and, being equal before God, should be considered equal before
the law. On account of unduly emphasizing the relation of man to God, the
Puritans "atrophied their social humanitarian instinct" and developed into
a race of self-conscious saints. Believing in human nature and laying
stress upon the relation between man and man, the Quakers became the
friends of all humanity.[4]

In 1693 George Keith, a leading Quaker of his day, came forward as a
promoter of the religious training of the slaves as a preparation for
emancipation. William Penn advocated the emancipation of slaves, that they
might have every opportunity for improvement. In 1695 the Quakers while
protesting against the slave trade denounced also the policy of neglecting
their moral and spiritual welfare.[5] The growing interest of this sect in
the Negroes was shown later by the development in 1713 of a definite
scheme for freeing and returning them to Africa after having been educated
and trained to serve as missionaries on that continent.

When the manumission of the slaves was checked by the reaction against
that class and it became more of a problem to establish them in a hostile
environment, certain Quakers of North Carolina and Virginia adopted the
scheme of settling them in Northern States.[6] At first, they sent such
freedmen to Pennsylvania. But for various reasons this did not prove to be
the best asylum. In the first place, Pennsylvania bordered on the slave
States, Maryland and Virginia, from which agents came to kidnap free
Negroes. Furthermore, too many Negroes were already rushing to that
commonwealth as the Negroes' heaven and there was the chance that the
Negroes might be settled elsewhere in the North, where they might have
better economic opportunities.[7] A committee of forty was accordingly
appointed by North Carolina Quakers in 1822 to examine the laws of other
free States with a view to determining what section would be most suitable
for colonizing these blacks. This committee recommended in its report that
the blacks be colonized in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The yearly meeting, therefore, ordered the removal of such Negroes as fast
as they were willing or as might be consistent with the profession of
their sect, and instructed the agents effecting the removal to draw on the
treasury for any sum not exceeding two hundred dollars to defray expenses.
An increasing number reached these States every year but, owing to the
inducements offered by the American Colonization Society, some of them
went to Liberia. When Liberia, however, developed into every thing but a
haven of rest, the number sent to the settlements in the Northwest greatly

The quarterly meeting succeeded in sending to the West 133 Negroes,
including 23 free blacks and slaves given up because they were connected
by marriage with those to be transplanted.[8] The Negro colonists seemed
to prefer Indiana.[9] They went in three companies and with suitable young
Friends to whom were executed powers of attorney to manumit, set free,
settle and bind them out.[10] Thirteen carts and wagons were bought for
these three companies; $1,250 was furnished for their traveling expenses
and clothing, the whole cost amounting to $2,490. It was planned to send
forty or fifty to Long Island and twenty to the interior of Pennsylvania,
but they failed to prosper and reports concerning them stamped them as
destitute and deplorably ignorant. Those who went to Ohio and Indiana,
however, did well.[11]

Later we receive another interesting account of this exodus. David White
led a company of fifty-three into the West, thirty-eight of whom belonged
to Friends, five to a member who had ordered that they be taken West at
his expense. Six of these slaves belonged to Samuel Lawrence, a Negro
slaveholder, who had purchased himself and family. White pathetically
reports the case of four of the women who had married slave husbands and
had twenty children for the possession of whom the Friends had to stand a
lawsuit in the courts. The women had decided to leave their husbands
behind but the thought of separation so tormented them that they made an
effort to secure their liberty. Upon appealing to their masters for terms
the owners, somewhat moved by compassion, sold them for one half of their
value. White then went West and left four in Chillicothe, twenty-three in
Leesburg and twenty-six in Wayne County, Indiana, without encountering any
material difficulty.[12]

Others had thought of this plan but the Quakers actually carried it out on
a small scale. Here we see again not only their desire to have the Negroes
emancipated but the vital interest of the Quakers in success of the
blacks, for members of this sect not only liberated their slaves but sold
out their own holdings in the South and moved with these freedmen into the
North. Quakers who then lived in free States offered fugitives material
assistance by open and clandestine methods.[13] The most prominent leader
developed by the movement was Levi Coffin, whose daring deeds in behalf of
the fugitives made him the reputed President of the Underground Railroad.
Most of the Quaker settlements of Negroes with which he was connected were
made in what is now Hamilton, Howard, Wayne, Randolph, Vigo, Gibson,
Grant, Rush, and Tipton Counties, Indiana, and Darke County, Ohio.

The promotion of this movement by the Quakers was well on its way by 1815
and was not materially checked until the fifties when the operations of
the drastic fugitive slave law interfered, and even then the movement had
gained such momentum and the execution of that mischievous measure had
produced in the North so much reaction like that expressed in the personal
liberty laws, that it could not be stopped. The Negroes found homes in
Western New York, Western Pennsylvania and throughout the Northwest
Territory. The Negro population of York, Harrisburg and Philadelphia
rapidly increased. A settlement of Negroes developed at Sandy Lake in
Northwestern Pennsylvania[14] and there was another near Berlin Cross
Roads in Ohio.[15] A group of Negroes migrating to this same State found
homes in the Van Buren Township of Shelby County.[16] A more significant
settlement in the State was made by Samuel Gist, an Englishman possessing
extensive plantations in Hanover, Amherst, and Henrico Counties, Virginia.
He provided in his will that his slaves should be freed and sent to the
North. He further provided that the revenue from his plantation the last
year of his life be applied in building schoolhouses and churches for
their accommodation, and "that all money coming to him in Virginia be set
aside for the employment of ministers and teachers to instruct them." In
1818, Wickham, the executor of his estate, purchased land and established
these Negroes in what was called the Upper and Lower Camps of Brown

Augustus Wattles, a Quaker from Connecticut, made a settlement in Mercer
County, Ohio, early in the nineteenth century. In the winter of 1833-4, he
providentially became acquainted with the colored people of Cincinnati,
finding there about "4,000 totally ignorant of every thing calculated to
make good citizens." As most of them had been slaves, excluded from every
avenue of moral and mental improvement, he established for them a school
which he maintained for two years. He then proposed to these Negroes to go
into the country and purchase land to remove them "from those
contaminating influences which had so long crushed them in our cities and
villages."[18] They consented on the condition that he would accompany
them and teach school. He travelled through Canada, Michigan and Indiana,
looking for a suitable location, and finally selected for settlement a
place in Mercer County, Ohio. In 1835, he made the first purchase of land
there for this purpose and before 1838 Negroes had bought there about
30,000 acres, at the earnest appeal of this benefactor, who had travelled
into almost every neighborhood of the blacks in the State, and laid before
them the benefits of a permanent home for themselves and of education for
their children.[19]

This settlement was further increased in 1858 by the manumitted slaves of
John Harper of North Carolina.[20] John Randolph of Roanoke endeavored to
establish his slaves as freemen in this county but the Germans who had
settled in that community a little ahead of them started such a
disturbance that Randolph's executor could not carry out his plan,
although he had purchased a large tract of land there.[21] It was
necessary to send these freemen to Miami County. Theodoric H. Gregg of
Dinwiddie County, Virginia, liberated his slaves in 1854 and sent them to
Ohio.[22] Nearer to the Civil War, when public opinion was proscribing the
uplift of Negroes in Kentucky, Noah Spears secured near Xenia, Greene
County, Ohio, a small parcel of land for sixteen of his former bondsmen in
1856.[23] Other freedmen found their way to this community in later years
and it became so prosperous that it was selected as the site of
Wilberforce University.

This transplantation extended into Michigan. With the help of persons
philanthropically inclined there sprang up a flourishing group of Negroes
in Detroit. Early in the nineteenth century they began to acquire property
and to provide for the education of their children. Their record was such
as to merit the encomiums of their fellow white citizens. In later years
this group in Detroit was increased by the operation of laws hostile to
free Negroes in the South in that life for this class not only became
intolerable but necessitated their expatriation. Because of the Virginia
drastic laws and especially that of 1838 prohibiting the return to that
State of such Negro students as had been accustomed to go North to attend
school, after they were denied this privilege at home, the father of
Richard DeBaptiste and Marie Louis More, the mother of Fannie M. Richards,
led a colony of free Negroes from Fredericksburg to Detroit.[24] And for
about similar reasons the father of Robert A. Pelham conducted others from
Petersburg, Virginia, in 1859.[25] One Saunders, a planter of Cabell
County, West Virginia, liberated his slaves some years later and furnished
them homes among the Negroes settled in Cass County, Michigan, about
ninety miles east of Chicago, and ninety-five miles west of Detroit.

This settlement had become attractive to fugitive slaves and freedmen
because the Quakers settled there welcomed them on their way to freedom
and in some cases encouraged them to remain among them. When the increase
of fugitives was rendered impossible during the fifties when the Fugitive
Slave Law was being enforced, there was still a steady growth due to the
manumission of slaves by sympathetic and benevolent masters in the
South.[26] Most of these Negroes settled in Calvin Township, in that
county, so that of the 1,376 residing there in 1860, 795 were established
in this district, there being only 580 whites dispersed among them. The
Negro settlers did not then obtain control of the government but they
early purchased land to the extent of several thousand acres and developed
into successful small farmers. Being a little more prosperous than the
average Negro community in the North, the Cass County settlement not only
attracted Negroes fleeing from hardships in the South but also those who
had for some years unsuccessfully endeavored to establish themselves in
other communities on free soil.[27]

These settlements were duplicated a little farther west in Illinois.
Edward Coles, a Virginian, who in 1818 emigrated to Illinois, of which he
later served as Governor and as liberator from slavery, settled his slaves
in that commonwealth. He brought them to Edwardsville, where they
constituted a community known as "Coles' Negroes."[28] There was another
community of Negroes in Illinois in what is now called Brooklyn situated
north of East St. Louis. This town was a center of some consequence in the
thirties. It became a station of the Underground Railroad on the route to
Alton and to Canada. As all of the Negroes who emerged from the South did
not go farther into the North, the black population of the town gradually
grew despite the fact that slave hunters captured and reenslaved many of
the Negroes who settled there.[29]

These settlements together with favorable communities of sympathetic
whites promoted the migration of the free Negroes and fugitives from the
South by serving as centers offering assistance to those fleeing to the
free States and to Canada. The fugitives usually found friends in
Philadelphia, Columbia, Pittsburgh, Elmira, Rochester, Buffalo,
Gallipolis, Portsmouth, Akron, Cincinnati, and Detroit. They passed on the
way to freedom through Columbia, Philadelphia, Elizabethtown and by way of
sea to New York and Boston, from which they proceeded to permanent
settlements in the North.[30]

In the West, the migration of the blacks was further facilitated by the
peculiar geographic condition in that the Appalachian highland, extending
like a peninsula into the South, had a natural endowment which produced a
class of white citizens hostile to the institution of slavery. These
mountaineers coming later to the colonies had to go to the hills and
mountains because the first comers from Europe had taken up the land near
the sea. Being of the German and Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock, they had
ideals differing widely from those of the seaboard slaveholders.[31] The
mountaineers believed in "civil liberty in fee simple, and an open road to
civil honors, secured to the poorest and feeblest members of society." The
eastern element had for their ideal a government of interests for the
people. They believed in liberty but that of kings, lords, and commons,
not of all the people.[32]

Settled along the Appalachian highland, these new stocks continued to
differ from those dwelling near the sea, especially on the slavery
question.[33] The natural endowment of the mountainous section made
slavery there unprofitable and the mountaineers bore it grievously that
they were attached to commonwealths dominated by the radical pro-slavery
element of the South, who sacrificed all other interests to safeguard
those of the peculiar institution. There developed a number of clashes in
all of the legislatures and constitutional conventions of the Southern
States along the Atlantic, but in every case the defenders of the
interests of slavery won. When, therefore, slaves with the assistance of
anti-slavery mountaineers began to escape to the free States, they had
little difficulty in making their way through the Appalachian region,
where the love of freedom had so set the people against slavery that
although some of them yielded to the inevitable sin, they never made any
systematic effort to protect it.[34]

The development of the movement in these mountains was more than
interesting. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century there were
many ardent anti-slavery leaders in the mountains. These were not
particularly interested in the Negro but were determined to keep that soil
for freedom that the settlers might there realize the ideals for which
they had left their homes in Europe. When the industrial revolution with
the attendant rise of the plantation cotton culture made abolition in the
South improbable, some of them became colonizationists, hoping to destroy
the institution through deportation, which would remove the objection of
certain masters who would free their slaves provided they were not left in
the States to become a public charge.[35] Some of this sentiment continued
in the mountains even until the Civil War. The highlanders, therefore,
found themselves involved in a continuous embroglio because they were not
moved by reactionary influences which were unifying the South for its bold
effort to make slavery a national institution.[36] The other members of
the mountaineer anti-slavery group became attached to the Underground
Railroad system, endeavoring by secret methods to place on free soil a
sufficiently large number of fugitives to show a decided diminution in the
South.[37] John Brown, who communicated with the South through these
mountains, thought that his work would be a success, if he could change
the situation in one county in each of these States.

The lines along which these Underground Railroad operators moved connected
naturally with the Quaker settlements established in free States and the
favorable sections in the Appalachian region. Many of these workers were
Quakers who had already established settlements of slaves on estates which
they had purchased in the Northwest Territory. Among these were John
Rankin, James Gilliland, Jesse Lockehart, Robert Dobbins, Samuel Crothers,
Hugh L. Fullerton, and William Dickey. Thus they connected the heart of
the South with the avenues to freedom in the North.[38] There were routes
extending from this section into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Over the Ohio and Kentucky route culminating chiefly in Cleveland,
Sandusky and Detroit, however, more fugitives made their way to freedom
than through any other avenue,[39] partly too because they found the
limestone caves very helpful for hiding by day. These operations extended
even through Tennessee into northern Georgia and Alabama. Dillingham,
Josiah Henson and Harriet Tubman used these routes to deliver many a Negro
from slavery.

The opportunity thus offered to help the oppressed brought forward a class
of anti-slavery men, who went beyond the limit of merely expressing their
horror of the evil. They believed that something should be done "to
deliver the poor that cry and to direct the wanderer in the right
way."[40] Translating into action what had long been restricted to
academic discussion, these philanthropic workers ushered in a new era in
the uplift of the blacks, making abolition more of a reality. The
abolition element of the North then could no longer be considered an
insignificant minority advocating a hopeless cause but a factor in drawing
from the South a part of its slave population and at the same time
offering asylum to the free Negroes whom the southerners considered
undesirable.[4l] Prominent among those who aided this migration in various
ways were Benjamin Lundy of Tennessee and James G. Birney, a former
slaveholder of Huntsville, Alabama, who manumitted his slaves and
apprenticed and educated some of them in Ohio.

This exodus of the Negroes to the free States promoted the migration of
others of their race to Canada, a more congenial part beyond the borders
of the United States. The movement from the free States into Canada,
moreover, was contemporary with that from the South to the free States as
will be evidenced by the fact that 15,000 of the 60,000 Negroes in Canada
in 1860 were free born. As Detroit was the chief gateway for them to
Canada, most of these refugees settled in towns of Southern Ontario not
far from that city. These were Dawn, Colchester, Elgin, Dresden, Windsor,
Sandwich, Bush, Wilberforce, Hamilton, St. Catherines, Chatham, Riley,
Anderton, London, Malden and Gonfield.[42] And their coming to Canada was
not checked even by request from their enemies that they be turned away
from that country as undesirables, for some of the white people there
welcomed and assisted them. Canadians later experienced a change in their
attitude toward these refugees but these British Americans never made the
life of the Negro there so intolerable as was the case in some of the free

It should be observed here that this movement, unlike the exodus of the
Negroes of today, affected an unequal distribution of the enlightened
Negroes.[43] Those who are fleeing from the South today are largely
laborers seeking economic opportunities. The motive at work in the mind of
the antebellum refugee was higher. In 1840 there were more intelligent
blacks in the South than in the North but not so after 1850, despite the
vigorous execution of the Fugitive Slave Law in some parts of the North.
While the free Negro population of the slave States increased only 23,736
from 1850 to 1860, that of the free States increased 29,839. In the South,
only Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina showed a noticeable increase in
the number of free persons of color during the decade immediately
preceding the Civil War. This element of the population had only slightly
increased in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana,
South Carolina and the District of Columbia. The number of free Negroes of
Florida remained constant. Those of Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas
diminished. In the North, of course, the migration had caused the tendency
to be in the other direction. With the exception of Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont and New York which had about the same free colored population in
1860 as they had in 1850 there was a general increase in the number of
Negroes in the free States. Ohio led in this respect, having had during
this period an increase of 11,394.[44] A glance at the table on the
accompanying page will show in detail the results of this migration.


State Population
1850 1860
Alabama.................... 2,265 2,690
Arkansas................... 608 144
California................. 962 4,086
Connecticut................ 7,693 8,627
Delaware................... 18,073 19,829
Florida...................... 932 932
Georgia...................... 2,931 3,500
Illinois..................... 5,436 7,628
Indiana...................... 11,262 11,428
Iowa......................... 333 1,069
Kentucky..................... 10,011 10,684
Louisiana.................... 17,462 18,647
Maine........................ 1,356 1,327
Kansas....................... 625
Maryland..................... 74,723 83,942
Massachusetts................ 9,064 9,602
Michigan..................... 2,583 6,797
Minnesota.................... 259
Mississippi.................. 930 773
Missouri..................... 2,618 3,572
New Hampshire................ 520 494
New Jersey................... 23,810 25,318
New York..................... 49,069 49,005
North Carolina............... 27,463 30,463
Ohio......................... 25,279 36,673
Oregon....................... 128
Pennsylvania................. 53,626 56,949
Rhode Island................. 3,670 3,952
South Carolina............... 8,960 9,914
Tennessee.................... 6,422 7,300
Texas........................ 397 355
Vermont...................... 718 709
Virginia..................... 54,333 58,042
Wisconsin.................... 635 1,171
Colorado................... 46
Dakota..................... 0
District of Columbia....... 10,059 11,131
Minnesota.................. 39
Nebraska................... 67
Nevada..................... 45
New Mexico................. 207 85
Oregon..................... 24
Utah....................... 22 30
Washington................. 30
_______ _______
Total .....................434,495 488,070

[Footnote 1: Moore, _Anti-Slavery_, p. 79; and _Special Report of
the United States Commissioner of Education_, 1871, p. 376; Weeks,
_Southern Quakers_, pp. 215, 216, 231, 230, 242.]

[Footnote 2: _The Southern Workman_, xxvii, p. 161.]

[Footnote 3: Rhodes, _History of the United States_, chap. i, p. 6;
Bancroft, _History of the United States_, chap. ii, p. 401; and
Locke, _Anti-Slavery_, p. 32.]

[Footnote 4: _A Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the
Testimony of the Quakers_, passim; Woodson, _The Education of the
Negro Prior to 1861_, p. 43.]

[Footnote 5: Woodson, _The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861_, p.
44; and Locke, _Anti-Slavery_, p. 32.]

[Footnote 6: _The Southern Workman_, xxxvii, pp. 158-169.]

[Footnote 7: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, pp. 144, 145, 151,

[Footnote 8: _Southern Workman_, xxxvii, p. 157.]

[Footnote 9: Levi Coffin, _Reminiscences_, chaps, i and ii.]

[Footnote 10: _Southern Workman_, xxxvii, pp. 161-163.]

[Footnote 11: Coffin, _Reminiscences_, p. 109; and Howe's
_Historical Collections_, p. 356.]

[Footnote 12: _Southern Workman_, xxxvii, pp. 162, 163.]

[Footnote 13: Levi Coffin, _Reminiscences_, pp. 108-111.]

[Footnote 14: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 249.]

[Footnote 15: Langston, _From the Virginia Plantation to the National
Capitol_, p. 35.]

[Footnote 16: Howe, _Historical Collections_, p. 465.]

[Footnote 17: _History of Brown County, Ohio_, p. 313.]

[Footnote 18: Wattles said: he purchased for himself 190 acres of land, to
establish a manual labor school for colored boys. He had maintained a
school on it, at his own expense, till the eleventh of November, 1842.
While in Philadelphia the winter before, he became acquainted with the
trustees of the late Samuel Emlen, a Friend of New Jersey. He left by his
will $20,000 for the "support and education in school learning and the
mechanic arts and agriculture, boys, of African and Indian descent, whose
parents would give them up to the school. They united their means and
purchased Wattles farm, and appointed him the superintendent of the
establishment, which they called the Emlen Institute."--See Howe's
_Historical Collections_, p. 356.]

[Footnote 19: Howe's _Historical Collections_, p. 355.]

[Footnote 20: _Manuscripts_ in the possession of J.E. Moorland.]

[Footnote 21: _The African Repository_, xxii, pp. 322, 333.]

[Footnote 22: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 723.]

[Footnote 23: _Southern Workman_, xxxvii, p. 158.]

[Footnote 24: _The Journal of Negro History_, I, pp. 23-33.]

[Footnote 25: _Ibid_., I, p. 26.]

[Footnote 26: _The African Repository_, passim.]

[Footnote 27: Although constituting a majority of the population even
before the Civil War the Negroes of this township did not get recognition
in the local government until 1875 when John Allen, a Negro, was elected
township treasurer. From that time until about 1890 the Negroes always
shared the honors of office with their white citizens and since that time
they have usually had entire control of the local government in that
township, holding such offices as supervisor, clerk, treasurer, road
commissioner, and school director. Their record has been that of
efficiency. Boss rule among them is not known. The best man for an office
is generally sought; for this is a community of independent farmers. In
1907 one hundred and eleven different farmers in this community had
holdings of 10,439 acres. Their township usually has very few delinquent
taxpayers and it promptly makes its returns to the county.--See the
_Southern Workman_, xxxvii, pp. 486-489.]

[Footnote 28: Davidson and Stowe, _A Complete History of Illinois_,
pp. 321, 322; and Washburn, _Edward Coles_, pp. 44 and 53.]

[Footnote 29: The Negro population of this town so rapidly increased after
the war that it has become a Negro town and unfortunately a bad one. Much
improvement has been made in recent years.--See _Southern Workman_,
xxxvii, pp. 489-494.]

[Footnote 30: Still, _Underground Railroad_, passim; Siebert,
_Underground Railroad_, pp. 34, 35, 40, 42, 43, 48, 56, 59, 62, 64,
70, 145, 147; Drew, _Refugee_, pp. 72, 97, 114, 152, 335 and 373.]

[Footnote 31: _The Journal of Negro History_, I, pp. 132-162.]

[Footnote 32: _Ibid_., I, 138.]

[Footnote 33: Olmsted, _Back Country_, p. 134.]

[Footnote 34: In the Appalachian mountains, however, the settlers were
loath to follow the fortunes of the ardent pro-slavery element. Actual
abolition, for example, was never popular in western Virginia, but the
love of the people of that section for freedom kept them estranged from
the slaveholding districts of the State, which by 1850 had completely
committed themselves to the pro-slavery propaganda. In the Convention of
1829-30 Upshur said there existed in a great portion of the West (of
Virginia) a rooted antipathy to the slave. John Randolph was alarmed at
the fanatical spirit on the subject of slavery, which was growing in
Virginia,--See the _Journal of Negro History_, I, p. 142.]

[Footnote 35: Adams, _Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery_.]

[Footnote 36: _The Journal of Negro History_, I, pp. 132-160.]

[Footnote 37: Siebert, _Underground Railroad_, p. 166.]

[Footnote 38: Adams, _Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery_.]

[Footnote 39: Siebert, _Underground Railroad_, chaps. v and vi.]

[Footnote 40: _An Address to the People of North Carolina on the Evils
of Slavery._]

[Footnote 41: Washington, _Story of the Negro_, I, chaps. xii, xiii
and xiv. ]

[Footnote 42: _Father Henson's Story of his own Life_, p. 209;
Coffin, _Reminiscences_, pp. 247-256; Howe, _The Refugees from
Slavery_, p. 77; Haviland, _A Woman's Work_, pp. 192, 193, 196.]

[Footnote 43: Woodson, _The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861_,
pp. 236-240.]

[Footnote 44: _The United States Censuses of 1850 and 1860._]



How, then, was this increasing influx of refugees from the South to be
received in the free States? In the older Northern States where there
could be no danger of an Africanization of a large district, the coming of
the Negroes did not cause general excitement, though at times the feeling
in certain localities was sufficient to make one think so.[1] Fearing that
the immigration of the Negroes into the North might so increase their
numbers as to make them constitute a rather important part in the
community, however, some free States enacted laws to restrict the
privileges of the blacks.

Free Negroes had voted in all the colonies except Georgia and South
Carolina, if they had the property qualification; but after the sentiment
attendant upon the struggle for the rights of man had passed away there
set in a reaction.[2] Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky
disfranchised all Negroes not long after the Revolution. They voted in
North Carolina until 1835, when the State, feeling that this privilege of
one class of Negroes might affect the enslavement of the other, prohibited
it. The Northern States, following in their wake, set up the same barriers
against the blacks. They were disfranchised in New Jersey in 1807, in
Connecticut in 1814, and in Pennsylvania in 1838. In 1811 New York passed
an act requiring the production of certificates of freedom from blacks or
mulattoes offering to vote. The second constitution, adopted in 1823,
provided that no man of color, unless he had been for three years a
citizen of that State and for one year next preceding any election, should
be seized and possessed of a freehold estate, should be allowed to vote,
although this qualification was not required of the whites. An act of 1824
relating to the government of the Stockbridge Indians provided that no
Negro or mulatto should vote in their councils.[3]

That increasing prejudice was to a great extent the result of the
immigration into the North of Negroes in the rough, was nowhere better
illustrated than in Pennsylvania. Prior to 1800, and especially after
1780, when the State provided for gradual emancipation, there was little
race prejudice in Pennsylvania.[4] When the reactionary legislation of the
South made life intolerable for the Negroes, debasing them to the plane of
beasts, many of the free people of color from Virginia, Maryland and
Delaware moved or escaped into Pennsylvania like a steady stream during
the next sixty years. As these Negroes tended to concentrate in towns and
cities, they caused the supply of labor to exceed the demand, lowering the
wages of some and driving out of employment a number of others who became
paupers and consequently criminals. There set in too an intense struggle
between the black and white laborers,[5] immensely accelerating the growth
of race prejudice, especially when the abolitionists and Quakers were
giving Negroes industrial training.

The first exhibition of this prejudice was seen among the lower classes of
white people, largely Irish and Germans, who, devoted to menial labor,
competed directly with the Negroes. It did not require a long time,
however, for this feeling to react on the higher classes of whites where
Negroes settled in large groups. A strong protest arose from the menace of
Negro paupers. An attempt was made in 1804 to compel free Negroes to
maintain those that might become a public charge.[6] In 1813 the mayor,
aldermen and citizens of Philadelphia asked that free Negroes be taxed to
support their poor.[7] Two Philadelphia representatives in the
Pennsylvania Legislature had a committee appointed in 1815 to consider the
advisability of preventing the immigration of Negroes.[8] One of the
causes then at work there was that the black population had recently
increased to four thousand in Philadelphia and more than four thousand
others had come into the city since the previous registration.

They were arriving much faster than they could be assimilated. The State
of Pennsylvania had about exterminated slavery by 1840, having only 40
slaves that year and only a few hundred at any time after 1810. Many of
these, of course, had not had time to make their way in life as freedmen.
To show how much the rapid migration to that city aggravated the situation
under these circumstances one needs but note the statistics of the
increase of the free people of color in that State. There were only 22,492
such persons in Pennsylvania in 1810, but in 1820 there were 30,202, and
in 1830 as many as 37,930. This number increased to 47,854 by 1840, to
53,626 by 1850, and to 56,949 by 1860. The undesirable aspect of the
situation was that most of the migrating blacks came in crude form.[9] "On
arriving," therefore, says a contemporary, "they abandoned themselves to
all manner of debauchery and dissipation to the great annoyance of many

Thereafter followed a number of clashes developing finally into a series
of riots of a grave nature. Innocent Negroes, attacked at first for
purposes of sport and later for sinister designs, were often badly beaten
in the streets or even cut with knives. The offenders were not punished
and if the Negroes defended themselves they were usually severely
penalized. In 1819 three white women stoned a woman of color to death.[11]
A few youths entered a Negro church in Philadelphia in 1825 and by
throwing pepper to give rise to suffocating fumes caused a panic which
resulted in the death of several Negroes.[12] When the citizens of New
Haven, Connecticut, arrayed themselves in 1831 against the plan to
establish in that city a Negro manual labor college, there was held in
Philadelphia a meeting which passed resolutions enthusiastically endorsing
this effort to rid the community of the evil of the immigration of free
Negroes. There arose also the custom of driving Negroes away from
Independence Square on the Fourth of July because they were neither
considered nor desired as a part of the body politic.[13]

It was thought that in the state of feeling of the thirties that the Negro
would be annihilated. De Tocqueville also observed that the Negroes were
more detested in the free States than in those where they were held as
slaves.[14] There had been such a reaction since 1800 that no positions of
consequence were open to Negroes, however well educated they might be, and
the education of the blacks which was once vigorously prosecuted there
became unpopular.[15] This was especially true of Harrisburg and
Philadelphia but by no means confined to large cities. The Philadelphia
press said nothing in behalf of the race. It was generally thought that
freedom had not been an advantage to the Negro and that instead of making
progress they had filled jails and almshouses and multiplied pest holes to
afflict the cities with disease and crime.

The Negroes of York carefully worked out in 1803 a plan to burn the city.
Incendiaries set on fire a number of houses, eleven of which were
destroyed, whereas there were other attempts at a general destruction of
the city. The authorities arrested a number of Negroes but ran the risk of
having the jail broken open by their sympathizing fellowmen. After a reign
of terror for half a week, order was restored and twenty of the accused
were convicted of arson.

In 1820 there occurred so many conflagrations that a vigilance committee
was organized.[16] Whether or not the Negroes were guilty of the crime is
not known but numbers of them left either on account of the fear of
punishment or because of the indignities to which they were subjected.
Numerous petitions, therefore, came before the legislature to stop the
immigration of Negroes. It was proposed in 1840 to tax all free Negroes to
assist them in getting out of the State for colonization.[17] The citizens
of Lehigh County asked the authorities in 1830 to expel all Negroes and
persons of color found in the State.[18] Another petition prayed that they
be deprived of the freedom of movement. Bills embodying these ideas were
frequently considered but they were never passed.

Stronger opposition than this, however, was manifested in the form of
actual outbreaks on a large scale in Philadelphia. The immediate cause of
this first real clash was the abolition agitation in the city in 1834
following the exciting news of other such disturbances a few months prior
to this date in several northern cities. A group of boys started the riot
by destroying a Negro resort. A mob then proceeded to the Negro district,
where white and colored men engaged in a fight with clubs and stones.

The next day the mob ruined the African Presbyterian Church and attacked
some Negroes, destroying their property and beating them mercilessly. This
riot continued for three days. A committee appointed to inquire into the
causes of the riot reported that the aim of the rioters had been to make
the Negroes go away because it was believed that their labor was depriving
them of work and because the blacks had shielded criminals and had made
such noise and disorder in their churches as to make them a nuisance. It
seemed that the most intelligent and well-to-do people of Philadelphia
keenly felt it that the city had thus been disgraced, but the mob spirit

The very next year was marked by the same sort of disorder. Because a
half-witted Negro attempted to murder a white man, a large mob stirred up
the city again. There was a repetition of the beating of Negroes and of
the destruction of property while the police, as the year before, were so
inactive as to give rise to the charge that they were accessories to the
riot.[20] In 1838 there occurred another outbreak which developed into an
anti-abolition riot, as the public mind had been much exercised by the
discussions of abolitionists and by their close social contact with the
Negroes. The clash came on the seventeenth of May when Pennsylvania Hall,
the center of abolition agitation, was burned. Fighting between the blacks
and whites ensued the following night when the Colored Orphan Asylum was
attacked and a Negro church burned. Order was finally restored for the
good of all concerned, but that a majority of the people sympathized with
the rioters was evidenced by the fact that the committee charged with
investigating the disturbance reported that the mob was composed of
strangers who could not be recognized.[21] It is well to note here that
this riot occurred the year the Negroes in Pennsylvania were

Following the example of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh had a riot in 1839
resulting in the maltreatment of a number of Negroes and the demolishing
of some of their houses. When the Negroes of Philadelphia paraded the city
in 1842, celebrating the abolition of slavery in the West Indies, there
ensued a battle led by the whites who undertook to break up the
procession. Along with the beating and killing of the usual number went
also the destruction of the New African Hall and the Negro Presbyterian
church. The grand jury charged with the inquiry into the causes reported
that the procession was to be blamed. For several years thereafter the
city remained quiet until 1849 when there occurred a raid on the blacks by
the _Killers of Moyamensing_, using firearms with which many were
wounded. This disturbance was finally quelled by aid of the militia.[22]

These clashes sometimes reached farther north than the free States
bordering on the slave commonwealths. Mobs broke up abolition meetings in
the city of New York in 1834 when there were sent to Congress numerous
petitions for the abolition of slavery. This mob even assailed such
eminent citizens as Arthur and Lewis Tappan, mainly on account of their
friendly attitude toward the Negroes.[23] On October 21, 1834, the same
feeling developed in Utica, where was to be held an anti-slavery meeting
according to previous notice. The six hundred delegates who assembled
there were warned to disband. A mob then organized itself and drove the
delegates from the town. That same month the people of Palmyra, New York,
held a meeting at which they adopted resolutions to the effect that owners
of houses or tenements in that town occupied by blacks of the character
complained of be requested to use all their rightful means to clear their
premises of such occupants at the earliest possible period; and that it be
recommended that such proprietors refuse to rent the same thereafter to
any person of color whatever.[24] In New York Negroes were excluded from
places of amusement and public conveyances and segregated in places of
worship. In the draft riots which occurred there in 1863, one of the aims
of the mobs was to assassinate Negroes and to destroy their property. They
burned the Colored Orphan Asylum of that city and hanged Negroes to

The situation in parts of New England was not much better. For fear of the
evils of an increasing population of free persons of color the people of
Canaan, New Hampshire, broke up the Noyes Academy because it decided to
admit Negro students, thinking that many of the race might thereby be
encouraged to come to that State.[25] When Prudence Crandall established
in Canterbury, Connecticut, an academy to which she decided to admit
Negroes, the mayor, selectmen and citizens of the city protested, and when
their protests failed to deter this heroine, they induced the legislature
to enact a special law covering the case and invoked the measure to have
Prudence Crandall imprisoned because she would not desist.[26] This very
law and the arguments upholding it justified the drastic measure on the
ground that an increase in the colored population would be an injury to
the people of that State.

In the new commonwealths formed out of western territory, there was the
same fear as to Negro domination and consequently there followed the wave
of legislation intended in some cases not only to withhold from the Negro
settlers the exercise of the rights of citizenship but to discourage and
even to prevent them from coming into their territory.[27] The question as
to what should be done with the Negro was early an issue in Ohio. It came
up in the constitutional convention of 1803, and provoked some discussion,
but that body considered it sufficient to settle the matter for the time
being by merely leaving the Negroes, Indians and foreigners out of the
pale of the newly organized body politic by conveniently incorporating the
word white throughout the constitution.[28] It was soon evident, however,
that the matter had not been settled, and the legislature of 1804 had to
give serious consideration to the immigration of Negroes into that State.
It was, therefore, enacted that no Negro or mulatto should remain there
permanently, unless he could furnish a certificate of freedom issued by
some court, that all Negroes in that commonwealth should be registered
before the following June, and that no man should employ a Negro who
failed to comply with these conditions. Should one be detected in hiring,
harboring or hindering the capture of a fugitive black, he was liable to a
fine of $50 and his master could recover pay for the service of his slave
to the amount of fifty cents a day.[29]

As this legislature did not meet the demands of those who desired further
to discourage Negro immigration, the Legislature of 1807 was induced to
enact a law to the effect that no Negro should be permitted to settle in
Ohio, unless he could within 20 days give a bond to the amount of $500 for
his good behavior and assurance that he would not become a public charge.
This measure provided also for raising the fine for concealing a fugitive
from $50 to $100, one half of which should go to the person upon the
testimony of whom the conviction should be secured.[30] Negro evidence in
a case to which a white was a party was declared illegal. In 1830 Negroes
were excluded from service in the State militia, in 1831 they were
deprived of the privilege of serving on juries, and in 1838 they were
denied the right of having their children educated at the expense of the

In Indiana the situation was worse than in Ohio. We have already noted
above how the settlers in the southern part endeavored to make that a
slave State. When that had, after all but being successful, seemed
impossible the State enacted laws to prevent or discourage the influx of
free Negroes and to restrict the privileges of those already there. In
1824 a stringent law for the return of fugitives was passed.[32] The
expulsion of free Negroes was a matter of concern and in 1831 it was
provided that unless they could give bond for their behavior and support
they could be removed. Otherwise the county overseers could hire out such
Negroes to the highest bidder.[33] Negroes were not allowed to attend
schools maintained at the public expense, might not give evidence against
a white man and could not intermarry with white persons. They might,
however, serve as witnesses against Negroes.[34]

In the same way the free Negroes met discouragement in Illinois. They
suffered from all the disabilities imposed on their class in Ohio and
Indiana and were denied the right to sue for their liberty in the courts.
When there arose many abolitionists who encouraged the coming of the
fugitives from labor in the South, one element of the citizens of Illinois
unwilling to accept this unusual influx of members of another race passed
the drastic law of 1853 prohibiting the immigration. It provided for the
prosecution of any person bringing a Negro into the State and also for
arresting and fining any Negro $50, should he appear there and remain
longer than ten days. If he proved to be unable to pay the fine, he could
be sold to any person who could pay the cost of the trial.[35]

In Michigan the situation was a little better but, with the waves of
hostile legislation then sweeping over the new[36] commonwealths, Michigan
was not allowed to constitute altogether an exception. Some of this
intense feeling found expression in the form of a law hostile to the
Negro, this being the act of 1827, which provided for the registration of
all free persons of color and for the exclusion from the territory of all
blacks who could not produce a certificate to the effect that they were
free. Free persons of color were also required to file bonds with one or
more freehold sureties in the penal sum of $500 for their good behavior,
and the bondsmen were expected to provide for their maintenance, if they
failed to support themselves. Failure to comply with this law meant
expulsion from the territory.[37]

The opposition to the Negroes immigrating into the new West was not
restricted to the enactment of laws which in some cases were never
enforced. Several communities took the law into their own hands. During
these years when the Negroes were seeking freedom in the Northwest
Territory and when free blacks were being established there by
philanthropists, it seemed to the southern uplanders fleeing from slavery
in the border States and foreigners seeking fortunes in the new world that
they might possibly be crowded out of this new territory by the Negroes.
Frequent clashes, therefore, followed after they had passed through a
period of toleration and dependence on the execution of the hostile laws.
The clashes of the greatest consequences occurred in the Northwest
Territory where a larger number of uplanders from the South had gone, some
to escape the ill effects of slavery, and others to hold slaves if
possible, and when that seemed impossible, to exclude the blacks
altogether.[38] This persecution of the Negroes received also the hearty
cooperation of the foreign element, who, being an undeveloped class, had
to do menial labor in competition with the blacks. The feeling of the
foreigners was especially mischievous for the reasons that they were, like
the Negroes, at first settled in large numbers in urban communities.

Generally speaking, the feeling was like that exhibited by the Germans in
Mercer County, Ohio. The citizens of this frontier community, in
registering their protest against the settling of Negroes there, adopted
the following resolutions:

_Resolved_, That we will not live among Negroes, as we have settled
here first, we have fully determined that we will resist the settlement of
blacks and mulattoes in this county to the full extent of our means, the
bayonet not excepted.

_Resolved_, That the blacks of this county be, and they are hereby
respectfully requested to leave the county on or before the first day of
March, 1847; and in the case of their neglect or refusal to comply with
this request, we pledge ourselves to _remove them, peacefully if we can,
forcibly if we must._

_Resolved_, That we who are here assembled, pledge ourselves not to
employ or trade with any black or mulatto person, in any manner whatever,
or permit them to have any grinding done at our mills, after the first day
of January next.[39]

In 1827 there arose a storm of protest on the occasion of the settling of
seventy freedmen in Lawrence County, Ohio, by a philanthropic master of
Pittsylvania County, Virginia.[40] On _Black Friday_, January 1,
1830, eighty Negroes were driven out of Portsmouth, Ohio, at the request
of one or two hundred white citizens set forth in an urgent memorial.[41]
So many Negroes during these years concentrated at Cincinnati that the
laboring element forced the execution of the almost dead law requiring
free Negroes to produce certificates and give bonds for their behavior and
support.[42] A mob attacked the homes of the blacks, killed a number of
them, and forced twelve hundred others to leave for Canada West, where
they established the settlement known as Wilberforce.

In 1836 another mob attacked and destroyed there the press of James G.
Birney, the editor of the _Philanthropist_, because of the
encouragement his abolitionist organ gave to the immigrating Negroes.[43]
But in 1841 came a decidedly systematic effort on the part of foreigners
and proslavery sympathizers to kill off and drive out the Negroes who were
becoming too well established in that city and who were giving offense to
white men who desired to deal with them as Negroes were treated in the
South. The city continued in this excited state for about a week. There
were brought into play in the upheaval the police of the city and the
State militia before the shooting of the Negroes and burning of their
homes could be checked. So far as is known, no white men were punished,
although a few of them were arrested. Some Negroes were committed to
prison during the fray. They were thereafter either discharged upon
producing certificates of nativity or giving bond or were indefinitely

In southern Indiana and Illinois the same condition obtained. Observing
the situation in Indiana, a contributor of _Niles Register_ remarked,
in 1818, upon the arrival there of sixty or seventy liberated Negroes sent
by the society of Friends of North Carolina, that they were a species of
population that was not acceptable to the people of that State, "nor
indeed to any other, whether free or slaveholding, for they cannot rise
and become like other men, unless in countries where their own color
predominates, but must always remain a degraded and inferior class of
persons without the hope of much bettering their condition."[45]

The _Indiana Farmer_, voicing the sentiment of that same community,
regretted the increase of this population that seemed to be enlarging the
number sent to that territory. The editor insisted that the community
which enjoys the benefits of the blacks' labor should also suffer all the
consequences. Since the people of Indiana derived no advantage from
slavery, he begged that they be excused from its inconveniences. Most of
the blacks that migrated there, moreover, possessed, thought he, "feelings
quite unprepared to make good citizens. A sense of inferiority early
impressed on their minds, destitute of every thing but bodily power and
having no character to lose, and no prospect of acquiring one, even did
they know its value, they are prepared for the commission of any act, when
the prospect of evading punishment is favorable."[46]

With the exception of such centers as Eden, Upper Alton, Bellville and
Chicago, this antagonistic attitude was general also in the State of
Illinois. The Negroes were despised, abused and maltreated as persons who
had no rights that the white man should respect. Even in Detroit,
Michigan, in 1833 a fracas was started by an attack on Negroes. Because a
courageous group of them had effected the rescue and escape of one
Thornton Blackburn and his wife who had been arrested by the sheriff as
alleged fugitives from Kentucky, the citizens invoked the law of 1827, to
require free Negroes to produce a certificate and furnish bonds for their
behavior and support.[47] The anti-slavery sentiment there, however, was
so strong that the law was not long rigidly enforced.[48] And so it was in
several other parts of the West which, however, were exceptional.[49]

[Footnote 1: _The New York Daily Advertiser,_ Sept. 22, 1800; _The
New York Journal of Commerce,_ July 12, 1834; and _The New York
Commercial Advertiser,_ July 12, 1834.]

[Footnote 2: Hart, _Slavery and Abolition,_ pp. 53, 82.]

[Footnote 3: Goodell, _American Slave Code,_ Part III, chap. i; Hurd,
_The Law of Freedom and Bondage,_ I, pp. 51, 61, 67, 81, 89, 101, 111;
Woodson, _The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861,_ pp. 151-178.]

[Footnote 4: Benezet, _Short Observations,_ p. 12.]

[Footnote 5: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, pp. 143-145.]

[Footnote 6: _Journal of House_, 1823-24, p. 824.]

[Footnote 7: _Journal of House,_ 1812-1813, pp. 481, 482.]

[Footnote 8: _Ibid._, 1814-1815, p. 101.]

[Footnote 9: _United States Censuses_, 1790-1860.]

[Footnote 10: Brannagan, _Serious Remonstrances_, p. 68.]

[Footnote 11: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, p. 145; _The
Philadelphia Gazette_, June 30, 1819.]

[Footnote 12: _Democratic Press, Philadelphia Gazette_, Nov. 21,

[Footnote 13: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, p. 146.]

[Footnote 14: De Tocqueville, _Democracy in America_, II, pp. 292,

[Footnote 15: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, p. 148.]

[Footnote 16: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, pp. 152, 153.]

[Footnote 17: _African Repository,_ VIII, pp. 125, 283; _Journal of
House_, 1840, I, pp. 347, 508, 614, 622, 623, 680.]

[Footnote 18: _Journal of Senate_, 1850, I, pp. 454, 479.]

[Footnote 19: This is well narrated in Turner's _Negro in
Pennsylvania_, p. 160, and in DuBois's _The Philadelphia Negro_,
p. 27.]

[Footnote 20: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, pp. 161, 162.]

[Footnote 21: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, pp. 162, 163.]

[Footnote 22: Turner, _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, p. 163; and _The
Liberator_, July 4, 1835.]

[Footnote 23: _The Liberator_, Oct. 24, 1834.]

[Footnote 24: _Ibid._, October 24, 1834.]

[Footnote 25: Jay, _An Inquiry,_ pp. 28-29.]

[Footnote 26: _An Act in Addition to an Act for the Admission and
Settlement of Inhabitants of Towns._

1. Whereas attempts have been made to establish literary institutions in
this State for the instruction of colored people belonging to other States
and countries, which would tend to the great increase of the colored
population of the State, and thereby to the injury of the people,

Be it resolved that no person shall set up or establish in this State,
any school, academy, or literary institution for the instruction or
education of colored persons, who are not inhabitants of this State, nor
instruct or teach in any school, academy, or other literary institution
whatever in this State, or harbor or board for the purpose of attending or
being taught or instructed in any such school, academy, or other literary
institution, any person who is not an inhabitant of any town in this
State, without the consent in writing, first obtained of a majority of the
civil authority, and also of the selectmen, of the town in which such
schools, academy, or literary institution is situated; and each and every
person who shall knowingly do any act forbidden as aforesaid, or shall be
aiding or assisting therein, shall for the first offense forfeit and pay
to the treasurer of this State a fine of one hundred dollars and for the
second offense shall forfeit and pay a fine of two hundred dollars, and so
double for every offense of which he or she shall be convicted. And all
informing officers are required to make due presentment of all breaches of
this act. Provided that nothing in this act shall extend to any district
school established in any school society under the laws of this State or
to any incorporated school for instruction in this State.

3. Any colored person not an inhabitant of this State who shall reside in
any town therein for the purpose of being instructed as aforesaid, may be
removed in the manner prescribed in the sixth and seventh sections of the
act to which this is an addition.

3. Any person not an inhabitant of this State who shall reside in any town
therein for the purpose of being instructed as aforesaid, shall be an
admissible witness in all prosecutions under the first section of this
act, and may be compelled to give testimony therein, notwithstanding
anything in this act, or in the act last aforesaid.

4. That so much of the seventh section of this act to which this is an
addition as may provide for the infliction of corporal punishment, be and
the same is hereby repealed.--See Hurd's _Law of Freedom and
Bondage_, II, pp. 45-46.]

[Footnote 27: So many Negroes working on the rivers between the slave and
free States helped fugitives to escape that there arose a clamor for the
discourage of colored employees.]

[Transcriber's Note: The above should probably be "discouragement of
colored employees."]

[Footnote 28: _Constitution of Ohio_, article I, sections 2, 6.
_The Journal of Negro History_, I, p. 2.]

[Footnote 29: _Laws of Ohio_, II, p. 53.]

[Footnote 30: _Laws of Ohio_, V, p. 53.]

[Footnote 31: Hitchcock, _The Negro in Ohio_, II, pp. 41, 42.]

[Footnote 32: _Revised Laws of Indiana_, 1831, p. 278.]

[Footnote 33: Perkins, _A Digest of the Declaration of the Supreme Court
of Indiana_, p. 590. _Laws of 1853_, p. 60.]

[Footnote 34: Gavin and Hord, _Indiana Revised Statutes_, 1862, p.

[Footnote 35: _Illinois Statutes_, 1853, sections 1-4, p. 8.]

[Footnote 36: In 1760 there were both African and Pawnee slaves in
Detroit, 96 of them in 1773 and 175 in 1782. The usual effort to have
slavery legalized was made in 1773. There were seventeen slaves in Detroit
in 1810 held by virtue of the exceptions made under the British rule prior
to the ratification of Jay's treaty. Advertisements of runaway slaves
appeared in Detroit papers as late as 1827. Furthermore, there were
thirty-two slaves in Michigan in 1830 but by 1836 all had died or had been
manumitted.--See Farmer, _History of Detroit and Michigan_, I, p.

[Footnote 37: _Laws of Michigan_, 1827; and Campbell, _Political
History of Michigan_, p. 246.]

[Footnote 38: _Proceedings of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Convention_,
1835, p. 19.]

[Footnote 39: _African Repository_, XXIII, p. 70.]

[Footnote 40: _Ohio State Journal_, May 3, 1837.]

[Footnote 41: Evans, _A History of Scioto County, Ohio_, p. 643.]

[Footnote 42: _African Repository_, V, p. 185.]

[Footnote 43: Howe, _Historical Collections_, pp. 225-226.]

[Footnote 44: _Ibid_., p. 226, and _The Cincinnati Daily
Gazette_, Sept. 14, 1841.]

[Footnote 45: _Niles Register_, XXX, 416.]

[Footnote 46: _Niles Register_, XXX, 416; _African Repository_,
III, p. 25.]

[Footnote 47: Farmer, _History of Detroit and Michigan_, I, chap.

[Footnote 48: There was the usual effort to have slavery legalized in
Michigan. At the time of the fire in 1805 there were six colored men and
nine colored women in the town of Detroit. In 1807 there were so many of
them that Governor Hull organized a company of colored militia. Joseph
Campan owned ten at one time. The importation of slaves was discontinued
after September 17, 1792, by act of the Canadian Parliament which provided
also that all born thereafter should be free at the age of twenty-five.
The Ordinance of 1787 had by its sixth article prohibited it.]

[Footnote 49: In 1836 a colored man traveling in the West to Cleveland

"I have met with good treatment at every place on my journey, even better
than what I expected under present circumstances. I will relate an
incident that took place on board the steamboat, which will give an idea
of the kind treatment with which I have met. When I took the boat at Erie,
it being rainy and somewhat disagreeable, I took a cabin passage, to which
the captain had not the least objection. When dinner was announced, I
intended not to go to the first table but the mate came and urged me to
take a seat. I accordingly did and was called upon to carve a large saddle
of beef which was before me. This I performed accordingly to the best of
my ability. No one of the company manifested any objection or seemed
anyways disturbed by my presence."--Extract of a letter from a colored
gentleman traveling to the West, Cleveland, Ohio, August 11, 1836.--See
_The Philanthropist_, Oct. 21, 1836.]



Because of these untoward circumstances consequent to the immigration of
free Negroes and fugitives into the North, their enemies, and in some
cases their well-intentioned friends, advocated the diversion of these
elements to foreign soil. Benezet and Brannagan had the idea of settling
the Negroes on the public lands in the West largely to relieve the
situation in the North.[1] Certain anti-slavery men of Kentucky, as we
have observed, recommended the same. But this was hardly advocated at all
by the farseeing white men after the close of the first quarter of the
nineteenth century. It was by that time very clear that white men would
want to occupy all lands within the present limits of the United States.
Few statesmen dared to encourage migration to Canada because the large
number of fugitives who had already escaped there had attached to that
region the stigma of being an asylum for fugitives from the slave States.

The most influential people who gave thought to this question finally
decided that the colonization of the Negro in Africa was the only solution
of the problem. The plan of African colonization appealed more generally
to the people of both North and South than the other efforts, which, at
best, could do no more than to offer local or temporary relief. The
African colonizationists proceeded on the basis that the Negroes had no
chance for racial development in this country. They could secure no kind
of honorable employment, could not associate with congenial white friends
whose minds and pursuits might operate as a stimulus upon their industry
and could not rise to the level of the successful professional or business
men found around them. In short, they must ever be hewers of wood and
drawers of water.[2]

To emphasize further the necessity of emigration to Africa the advocates
of deportation to foreign soil generally referred to the condition of the
migrating Negroes as a case in evidence. "So long," said one, "as you must
sit, stand, walk, ride, dwell, eat and sleep _here_ and the Negro
_there_, he cannot be free in any part of the country."[3] This idea
working through the minds of northern men, who had for years thought
merely of the injustice of slavery, began to change their attitude toward
the abolitionists who had never undertaken to solve the problem of the
blacks who were seeking refuge in the North. Many thinkers controlling
public opinion then gave audience to the colonizationists and circles once
closed to them were thereafter opened.[4]

There was, therefore, a tendency toward a more systematic effort than had
hitherto characterized the endeavors of the colonizationists. The objects
of their philanthropy were not to be stolen away and hurried off to an
uncongenial land for the oppressed. They were in accordance with the
exigencies of their new situation to be prepared by instruction in
mechanic arts, agriculture, science and Biblical literature that some
might lead in the higher pursuits and others might skilfully serve their
fellows.[5] Private enterprise was at first depended on to carry out the
schemes but it soon became evident that a better method was necessary.
Finally out of the proposals of various thinkers and out of the actual
colonization feats of Paul Cuffe, a Negro, came a national meeting for
this purpose, held in Washington, December, 1816, and the organization of
the American Colonization Society. This meeting was attended by some of
the most prominent men in the United States, among whom were Henry Clay,
Francis S. Key, Bishop William Meade, John Randolph and Judge Bushrod

The American Colonization Society, however, failed to facilitate the
movement of the free Negro from the South and did not promote the general
welfare of the race. The reasons for these failures are many. In the first
place, the society was all things to all men. To the anti-slavery man
whose ardor had been dampened by the meagre results obtained by his
agitation, the scheme was the next best thing to remove the objections of
slaveholders who had said they would emancipate their bondsmen, if they
could be assured of their being deported to foreign soil. To the radical
proslavery man and to the northerner hating the Negro it was well adapted
to rid the country of the free persons of color whom they regarded as the
pariahs of society.[6] Furthermore, although the Colonization Society
became seemingly popular and the various States organized branches of it
and raised money to promote the movement, the slaveholders as a majority
never reached the position of parting with their slaves and the country
would not take such radical action as to compel free Negroes to undergo
expatriation when militant abolitionists were fearlessly denouncing the

The free people of color themselves were not only not anxious to go but
bore it grievously that any one should even suggest that they should be
driven from the country in which they were born and for the independence
of which their fathers had died. They held indignation meetings throughout
the North to denounce the scheme as a selfish policy inimical to the
interests of the people of color.[8] Branded thus as the inveterate foe of
the blacks both slave and free, the American Colonization Society effected
the deportation of only such Negroes as southern masters felt disposed to
emancipate from time to time and a few others induced to go. As the
industrial revolution early changed the aspect of the economic situation
in the South so as to make slavery seemingly profitable, few masters ever
thought of liberating their slaves.

Scarcely any intelligent Negroes except those who, for economic or
religious reasons were interested, availed themselves of this opportunity
to go to the land of their ancestors. From the reports of the Colonization
Society we learn that from 1820 to 1833 only 2,885 Negroes were sent to
Africa by the Society. Furthermore, more than 2,700 of this number were
taken from the slave States, and about two thirds of these were slaves
manumitted on the condition that they would emigrate.[9] Later statistics
show the same tendency. By 1852, 7,836 had been deported from the United
States to Liberia. 2,720 of these were born free, 204 purchased their
freedom, 3,868 were emancipated in view of their going to Liberia and
1,044 were liberated Africans returned by the United States
Government.[10] Considering the fact that there were 434,495 free persons
of color in this country in 1850 and 488,070 in 1860, the colonizationists
saw that the very element of the population which the movement was
intended to send out of the country had increased rather than decreased.
It is clear, then, that the American Colonization Society, though regarded
as a factor to play an important part in promoting the exodus of the free
Negroes to foreign soil, was an inglorious failure.

Colonization in other quarters, however, was not abandoned. A colony of
Negroes in Texas was contemplated in 1833 prior to the time when the
republic became independent of Mexico, as slavery was not at first assured
in that State. The _New York Commercial Advertiser_ had no objection
to the enterprise but felt that there were natural obstacles such as a
more expensive conveyance than that to Monrovia, the high price of land in
that country, the Catholic religion to which Negroes were not accustomed
to conform, and their lack of knowledge of the Spanish language. The
editor observed that some who had emigrated to Hayti a few years before
became discontented because they did not know the language. Louisiana, a
slave State, moreover, would not suffer near its borders a free Negro
republic to serve as an asylum for refugees.[11] The Richmond Whig saw the
actual situation in dubbing the scheme as chimerical for the reason that a
more unsuitable country for the blacks did not exist. Socially and
politically it would never suit the Negroes. Already a great number of
adventurers from the United States had gone to Texas and fugitives from
justice from Mexico, a fierce, lawless and turbulent class, would give the
Negroes little chance there, as the Negroes could not contend with the
Spaniard and the Creole. The editor believed that an inferior race could
never exist in safety surrounded by a superior one despising them.
Colonization in Africa was then urged and the efforts of the blacks to go
elsewhere were characterized as doing mischief at every turn to defeat the
"enlightened plan" for the amelioration of the Negroes.[12]

It was still thought possible to induce the Negroes to go to some
congenial foreign land, although few of them would agree to emigrate to
Africa. Not a few Negroes began during the two decades immediately
preceding the Civil War to think more favorably of African colonization
and a still larger number, in view of the increasing disabilities fixed
upon their class, thought of migrating to some country nearer to the
United States. Much was said about Central America, but British Guiana and
the West Indies proved to be the most inviting fields to the latter-day
Negro colonizationists. This idea was by no means new, for Jefferson in
his foresight had, in a letter to Governor Edward Coles, of Illinois, in
1814, shown the possibilities of colonization in the West Indies. He felt
that because Santo Domingo had become an independent Negro republic it
would offer a solution of the problem as to where the Negroes should be
colonized. In this way these islands would become a sort of safety valve
for the United States. He became more and more convinced that all the West
Indies would remain in the hands of the people of color, and a total
expulsion of the whites sooner or later would take place. It was high
time, he thought, that Americans should foresee the bloody scenes which
their children certainly, and possibly they themselves, would have to wade
through. [13]

The movement to the West Indies was accelerated by other factors. After
the emancipation in those islands in the thirties, there had for some
years been a dearth of labor. Desiring to enjoy their freedom and living
in a climate where there was not much struggle for life, the freedmen
either refused to work regularly or wandered about purposely from year to
year. The islands in which sugar had once played a conspicuous part as the
foundation of their industry declined and something had to be done to meet
this exigency. In the forties and fifties, therefore, there came to the
United States a number of labor agents whose aim was to set forth the
inviting aspect of the situation in the West Indies so as to induce free
Negroes to try their fortunes there. To this end meetings were held in
Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston and even in some of the
cities of the South, where these agents appealed to the free Negroes to

Thus before the American Colonization Society had got well on its way
toward accomplishing its purpose of deporting the Negroes to Africa the
West Indies and British Guiana claimed the attention of free people of
color in offering there unusual opportunities. After the consummation of
British emancipation in those islands in 1838, the English nation came to
he regarded by the Negroes of the United States as the exclusive friend of
the race. The Negro press and church vied with each other in praising
British emancipation as an act of philanthropy and pointed to the English
dominions as an asylum for the oppressed. So disturbed were the whites by
this growing feeling that riots broke out in northern cities on occasions
of Negro celebrations of the anniversary of emancipation in the West

In view of these facts, the colonizationists had to redouble their efforts
to defend their cause. They found it a little difficult to make a good
case for Liberia, a land far away in an unhealthy climate so much unlike
that of the West Indies and British Guiana, where Negroes had been
declared citizens entitled to all privileges afforded by the government.
The colonizationists could do no more than to express doubt that the
Negroes would have there the opportunities for mental, moral and social
betterment which were offered in Liberia. The promoters of the enterprise
in Africa did not believe that the West Indian planters who had had
emancipation forced upon them would accept blacks from the United States
as their equals, nor that they, far from receiving the consideration of
freedmen, would be there any more than menials. When told of the
establishment of schools and churches for the improvement of the freedmen,
the colonizationists replied that schools might be provided, but the
planters could have no interest in encouraging education as they did not
want an elevated class of people but bone and muscle. As an evidence of
the truth of this statement it was asserted that newspapers of the country
were filled with disastrous accounts of the falling off of crops and the
scarcity of labor but had little to say about those forces instrumental in
the uplift of the people.[16]

An effort was made also to show that there would be no economic advantage
in going to the British dominions. It was thought that as soon as the
first demand for labor was supplied wages would be reduced, for no new
plantations could be opened there as in a growing country like Liberia. It
would be impossible, therefore, for the Negroes immigrating there to take
up land and develop a class of small farmers as they were doing in Africa.
Under such circumstances, they contended, the Negroes in the West Indies
could not feel any of the "elevating influences of nationality of
character," as the white men would limit the influence of the Negroes by
retaining practically all of the wealth of the islands. The inducements,
therefore, offered the free Negroes in the United States were merely
intended to use them in supplying in the British dominions the need of men
to do drudgery scarcely more elevating than the toil of slaves.[l7]

Determined to interest a larger number of persons in diverting the
attention of the free Negroes from the West Indies, the colonizationists
took higher ground. They asserted that the interests of the millions of
white men in this country were then at stake, and even if it would be
better for the three million Negroes of the country gradually to emigrate
to the British dominions, it would eventually prove prejudicial to the
interests of the United States. They showed how the Negroes immigrating
into the West Indies would be made to believe that the refusal to extend
to them here social and political equality was cruel oppression and the
immigrants, therefore, would carry with them no good will to this country.
When they arrived in the West Indies their circumstances would increase
this hostility, alienate their affections and estrange them wholly from
the United States. Taught to regard the British as the exclusive friends
of their race, devoted to its elevation, they would become British in
spirit. As such, these Negroes would be controlled by British influence
and would increase the wealth and commerce of the British and as soldiers
would greatly strengthen British power.[l8]

It was better, therefore, they argued, to direct the Negroes to Liberia,
for those who went there with a feeling of hostility against the white
people were placed in circumstances operating to remove that feeling, in
that the kind solicitude for their welfare would be extended them in their
new home so as to overcome their prejudices, win their confidence, and
secure their attachment. Looking to this country as their fatherland and
the home of their benefactors, the Liberians would develop a nation,
taking the religion, customs and laws of this country as their models,
marketing their produce in this country and purchasing our manufactures.
In spite of its independence, therefore, Liberia would be American in
feeling, language and interests, affording a means to get rid of a class
undesirable here but desirable to us there in their power to extend
American influence, trade and commerce.[l9]

Negroes migrated to the West Indies in spite of this warning and protest.
Hayti, at first looked upon with fear of having a free Negro government
near slaveholding States, became fixed in the minds of some as a desirable
place for the colonization of free persons of color.[20] This was due to
the apparent natural advantages in soil, climate and the situation of the
country over other places in consideration. It was thought that the island
would support fourteen millions of people and that, once opened to
immigration from the United States, it would in a few years fill up by
natural increase. It was remembered that it was formerly the emporium of
the Western World and that it supplied both hemispheres with sugar and
coffee. It had rapidly recovered from the disaster of the French
Revolution and lacked only capital and education which the United States
under these circumstances could furnish. Furthermore, it was argued that
something in this direction should be immediately done, as European
nations then seeking to establish friendly relations with the islands,
would secure there commercial advantages which the United States should
have and could establish by sending to that island free Negroes especially
devoted to agriculture.

In 1836, Z. Kingsley, a Florida planter,[2l] actually undertook to carry
out such a plan on a small scale. He established on the northeast side of
Hayti, near Port Plate, his son, George Kingsley, a well-educated colored
man of industrious habits and uncorrupted morals, together with six "prime
African men," slaves liberated for that express purpose. There he
purchased for them 35,000 acres of land upon which they engaged in the
production of crops indigenous to that soil.

Hayti, however, was not to be the only island to get consideration. In
1834 two hundred colored emigrants went from New York alone to Trinidad,
under the superintendence and at the expense of planters of that island.
It was later reported that every one of them found employment on the day
of arrival and in one or two instances the most intelligent were placed as
overseers at the salary of $500 per annum. No one received less than $1.00
a day and most of them earned $1.50. The Trinidad press welcomed these
immigrants and spoke in the highest terms of the valuable services they
rendered the country.[22] Others followed from year to year. One of these
Negroes appreciated so much this new field of opportunity that he returned
and induced twenty intelligent free persons of color living in Annapolis,
Maryland, also to emigrate to Trinidad.[23]

_The New York Sun_ reported in 1840 that 160 colored persons left
Philadelphia for Trinidad. They had been hired by an eminent planter to
labor on that island and they were encouraged to expect that they should
have privileges which would make their residence desirable. The editor

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