Are records available about black Americans prior to the 1870 Census? You’re darned tootin’ they are! Many believe that the so-called “1870 Brick Wall” stifles the research of those of us who descend from these Ancestors, but that is absolutely not the case! Check out these slides from some of the presentations I do that address this topic.
From “Researching Free People of Color in Antebellum North Carolina” Slide 12, updated June 2018. Author, Renate Yarborough Sanders. All rights reserved. Except for the “freedom badges,” the other record types mentioned on this slide are mostly extant, and provide helpful documentation of the lives of emancipated or free-born Blacks.
From “Researching Free People of Color in Antebellum North Carolina” Slide 15, updated June 2018. Author, Renate Yarborough Sanders. All rights reserved. These are two samples from the very rich collection of slavery related petitions, collected by UNC’s Digital Library on American Slavery.
From "Finding Calvin: Following My Enslaved Through Multiple Owners - A Case Study Ancestor" Slide 12. Updated July 2020. Author, Renate Yarborough Sanders. All Rights Reserved. People often say that there’s no such thing as a slave record, but this slide shows records which certainly give us information about the enslaved.