During the period before the Civil War, there were many white slave owners.What many
people don’t know, is that there were also freed “people of color” who owned slaves. This may
seem a little ironic or contradictory, and in many cases it was, but much of the time it was an act
There were no where near as many black slave owners as there were white. In 1830 only
Three hundred thousand people of color were free; of these, about 2 percent were slave holders.
Atfirst sight, I believed this fact that blacks owned other blacks to be outrageous. After further
examination of the document Black Slaveowners, I came to understand that not all motives were
Freed colored people were held in suspicion by the white society, not only in the South
but in the north as well.To be able to own a slave, one mustfirst have their “freedom.” Although
once free, blacks of the antebellum era were generally forbidden the right to vote, to bear arms,
and to testify against whites in a court of law.John Hope Franklin put it best when he said “quasi
freedom.”Once a freed colored person reached intermediate status, many used it to exploit those
at the bottom, or those still in slavery. I believe this to be wrong.I do not understand how a
person can go through bondage, then become free, and have the chance to help others who are in
the situation they were just in, but instead use it against them.
Blacks who owned slaves were “a tiny minority within a minority.” Most often black slave
owners were men who bought their own family members.I believe buying their family back was
the only case in which blacks should have owned other blacks. Some black slave owners actively
bought slaves, most however, generally inherited them from family members or white neighbors.
Although much of owning other blacks was for humanitarian motives, economic

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