NYHIST-L Archives

July 1998


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William MacKay <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 13:52:07 -0400
text/plain (50 lines)
Despite its restrictive title, Shane White's Somewhat More Independent: The
End of Slavery in New York City, 1770-1810 [University of Georgia,
0820317861, pb, $20.00] includes plentiful information on slave-holding &
the vagaries of record-keeping in New York State for this period. It's also
a vigorous, sometimes witty book.

> ----------
> From:         carol kammen[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent:         Monday, July 06, 1998 9:34 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
>         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
> women.
>         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.