Why were free blacks in Virginia reluctant to leave the United States? The Antebellum period had a huge impact on the free African American people. The Antebellumperiod is the time that is pre-Civil War and post-War of 1812. During this period of time, slavery was not fully abolished and African Americans had to deal with many adversities as free blacks. As a result, blacks occasionally contemplated abandoning the United States altogether, fearing that they would never achieve full citizenship (White, Bay, Martin 186). On the other hand, free blacks in Virginia were reluctant to leave the United States because they believed they were entitled to the same rights and freedoms as any other American. Thousands of black soldiers died, escaped or gained their freedom during the Revolutionary War. Those who fought and survived believed they would be given freedom. Some slaves were only freed depending on their length of service. As a result of the war, many southern slaves were liberated and the north had begun to eliminate slavery. Once freed, most blacks saved enough money to buy their own land. Some slave masters even gave land to their former slaves or disclosed in their wills to sell the land to their former slaves. For example, Gates' article, he notes that his ancestors, Joe and Sarah Bruce, were freed in their master's will. The will specified they could reside in Virginia until the master's wife died, who deeded a thousand acres to them in her will. As a result of being land owners, Joe and Sarah Bruce had no reason to leave Virginia. However, free blacks in the north and south did not have the same liberties as whites (White, Bay, Martin 162). Whites still did not accept blacks as equals in either the political nor social aspect. Thus, free blacks were forced to start a separate community of their own black churches, schools and social organizations. During the post-Revolutionary era, both whites and blacks questioned the blacks' ability to succeed in the...
Cited: Garrison, William L. Thought on African Colonization, or An Impartial Exhibition on the Doctrines, Principles and Purposes of the American Colonization Society. Together with the Revolutions, Addresses and Remonstrances of the Free People of Color. Boston: Garrison and Knapp, 1832. Print.
Gates, Jr., Henry Louis . N.p.. Web. 7 Oct 2013.
James, Peter. "Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period." African American Odyssey: (Part 1). N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013.
White, Deborah G., Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print
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