Slavery In Escambia County

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Throughout Americas youthful years the growing country was able to enjoy a sense of prosperity in its economic dominance and increasing territory in relation to other nations across the world. Even with this great prosperity the issue regards to the legality of slavery seemed to plague the society of the growing country. Numerous areas of Florida including Escambia County began enacting certain laws and city codes which restricted the movement of African Americans as well as limited their societal freedoms. The impact leveled by the implementation of these restrictions against free blacks and mulattos was very widely publicized and criticize throughout Escambia county. The Florida Historic Quarterly discussed the direct affects of the legal …show more content…
The authors note that not only were the free blacks able to live peacefully amongst there white counterparts, but they were even respected within the community. Even with this high level of peace and esteem amongst both residing ethnicities in the area the general public outside of Escambia county saw the residence of free blacks and mulattos in Southern cities as an imminent threat to the stability of the Anglo Saxon dominated south. A territorial law in 1828 stated that free blacks were prevented from owning or carrying firearms or other military weaponry in Florida with the exception of Pensacola and St Augustine where free blacks could posses’ weapons that fell in accordance with the cities own guidelines. Both Pensacola and St Augustine were also the only cities in the Florida territory to allow slaves to buy their freedom from there masters without there masters having to incur a fifty-dollar fee from the governing county. Later in the article Ruth Barr and Modeste reference an 1851 Tallahassee newspaper which mentioned a Virginia and Alabama proposition which would make the settlement of free blacks in there repective states illegal. Unlike the neighboring regions, Escambia County in particular was still experiencing a high functioning relationship between the white and free black citizens in …show more content…
In 1845 the state of Florida leveled a tax against all free blacks between the age of 21 and 60 who did not have a white guardian legally assigned to them. This white guardian was to be there de facto owner who could force them into work if they failed to pay any government issued funds levied against them. In 1848 the state of Florida imposed an even more demeaning legal code against free blacks which required all black citizens over the age of 20 to have a white guardian. Many of the free black Pensacola citizens felt as if there were now being relegated to the status of a slave and the general consensus of the white citizens in the area was in agreement with the free blacks. After a second reiteration of the legal code in 1856 which made failure to possess guardianship of a white male a hefty fine and possible incarceration, the free blacks of the Escambia area decided to emigrate out of the country into Mexico. The vast majority of the free blacks in Escambia county sailed out from Palafox wharf sometime in 1856 before the deadline of the 1856 codes

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