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July 1998


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carol kammen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Jul 1998 21:34:21 -0400
text/plain (35 lines)
        The issue is complicated and I don't have all my notes in front of
me, but emancipation was considered in 1777 when the first state
constitution was written but the vote went against including it because
suffrage was not included.

        There were some laws thereafter that gave African Americans more
rights, such as the elimination of a separate court and, if I remember
correctly, the right to receive aid if as a freed person aid was needed.
In other words, if a former slave could not totally care for himself, he
was to receive the same aid that white people got and poverty was not cause
to return an individual to slavery.

        Then in 1799 a law was passed emancipating all slaves born after
1800 in NY. That left all slaves born before 1799 in slavery.

         In 1817 the law emancipated all slaves in the state, but with
minors, not until they reached maturity, a different age for men and for

        At the same time there were laws that controlled the lives of
slaves imported into the state:  they could not be exported to be sold
(though some were) for example, and the residence of the owner was
important too.

        So in 1827 there was emancipation. The important date to look at is
the number in 1820 which was 10,046; with 55 in 1830.  But if you look at
the figures, there were still some people listed as slaves in the state:
55 in 1830 (most probably children or the elderly) and 4 in 1840.  So the
bulk of NY's remaining slaves were freed on that date.  Just not all.  The
law did alter the condition of the slaves after that date stating that
those children should be educated and clothed and taught a skill; to be
treated more like indentured servants than slaves.

        As you can see, the issue is complicated.