Free People of Color: the Quiz

9 April 2007

What?!? Two blogs in one day??? Yep! I just want to get the ball rolling, and this is the way I start all my talks that I've given both on and off line. This blog is a quiz. Don't worry if you don't know the answer, because frankly I don't expect you to! The purpose of this quiz is to show you the difference between stereotypes concerning free Blacks in the South as a whole versus the truth. Some stereotypes may be based on fact, some not, and I'm not giving away any answers. Next Monday (April 16th), I will post the answers to the quiz. Feel free to post your answers to the quiz, or what you think the answers are, in the comments, but you don't have to. So, without further ado.....

First, I'm gonna start with just the facts. This is a transcript of a quiz I handed out at a talk I gave in February of 2006. Please note that free people of color refers not just to Blacks, but also to tax-paying Native Americans and any other racial minorities that happened to live in the area. Early census years did not distinguish between Blacks, Native Americans, etc. Instead races were either "white" or "other free people" and "slaves".

Section 1: Population

  1. In 1790, how many free people of color were there in the South compared to the North?
    A. 361 in the South vs 2,031 in the North
    B. 3,619 in the South vs 2,031 in the North
    C. 36,196 in the South vs 20,315 in the North
    D. None of the above
  2. Which state had the largest population of free people of color in 1790 and the second largest in 1850?
    A. Virginia     B. North Carolina     C. Maryland     D. New York
  3. The free people of color population of the entire state of NC in 1790 accounted for what percentage of the population?
    A. 54%     B. 5%     C. 27%     D. 13%
  4. In the 1850 census, North Carolina again ranked 3rd in the highest population of free people of color. Virginia was 1st, Maryland was 2nd. What was the population of free people of color in NC during the 1850 census?
    A. 5,362     B. 13,035     C. 75,003     D. 30,463

Section 2: Laws

  1. True or False: North Carolina required all free Blacks to register statewide.
  2. True or False: Free Blacks could always travel freely in and out of the state.
  3. True or False: Free Blacks could always own slaves in NC.
  4. True or False: North Carolina's courts always followed the letter of the law when it came to free Blacks.

So, how do you think you did? You’ll find out next Monday! Wish I could offer something to the person who gets the most right…oh wait, I AM! KNOWLEDGE


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crokersgirl said on February 13, 2008 at 10:56 PM
I wish I had caught up to you when I first began researching my Croker family line. I will check back in June to see what new information you have posted. Best wishes with your dissertation and defense!

Anonymous said on May 14, 2008 at 9:54 PM
Hi! Dorothy King in Delaware-My ggreatfather Rev .William Jones Rankin was a Black Prebyterian Minister in Aberdeen, North Carolina with his wife Mattie Elizabeth Rankin opened a school for negro Children finally named Sarah Lincoln Academy in Aberdeen N.C. from 1896-1932. I was surprized to find in a book and the 1920 census that my blood grandmother was adopted by him and his wife. I was floored but I don't know if she was otherwised blood related. her name was teresa inez rankin. she married booker t blue sr. Could you help me find the link to booker t blue sr. the year of birth on my uncle birth certificates indicates he was born in moore county 1903. but the census ages 1906-07. he died in duval county in 1958. my mother told me about them when i was young. also, i can't find an obituary for Dr. rankin-i have his death certificate with alot of contradiction. the burlington times had a death notice indicating his wife as administrix and a contradiction in death. it noted he died 9/31/1932 @ 69. he was actually 70 years old. and must have died 8/31/1932. the administrix notice started in sept 3x's b4 9/31/1932 and ran 2-3x in oct 1932. a man of rev rankin's statue should have had a huge funeral or noted somewhere.
tristatedts (at&341; oh he is said to have died in graham, north carolina and he was a synod of catawba. he was pastor of the faith presbyterian church in aberdeen,nc,emanuel presbyterian at the same time in 1900-1926. then shadyshide presbyterian church in lexington, nc and some other churches. it is documented in several books. with their pictures.

Anonymous said on November 10, 2008 at 11:36 AM
Thanks for writing this.