Northern Free Blacks; The Scholarly Discussion.

The Northern Free Blacks; The scholarly discussion reading begins during the American Revolution. Thousands of Northern slaves won their freedom through their service in the continental army, and by the second half of the nineteenth century slavery had become a largely Southern institution. In the North a Free Black society began to take shape, and although most of them were denied full citizenship they still became a force in politics. Never the less Historians stand on two sides of the slavery line. Some Historians painted slavery in the light of moral and intellectual guidance imposed on an uncivilized group of people, as other Historians showed slavery as an undeniable form of evil injustice.

The Northern Free Blacks; the scholarly discussion illustrates how two scholars, Kenneth Stampp and Stanley Elkins, fully discredited the racial justifications of slavery by earlier scholars because of the closed minded system people were brought up in during that era. Elkins compared the manipulation to accept the concept of slavery to the manipulation of the Germans to hate the Jewish population. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his coauthor Nathan Glazer took a different approach to the issue of slavery concluding that white oppression ultimately lead to the the destroying of the African American culture specifically in New York City. Moynihan and Glazer stated that with the loss of their culture, the African Americans of New York City then lost their values that needed to be guarded and protected and pushed them into becoming dependent and more content with others solving their problems for them. The last scholar I’m going to mention is William Ryan, a psychologist, who claimed that “blaming the victim” was attributing to the failure of African Americans. Ryan stated that the African American community, specifically men, were unable to take advantage of the benefits America had to offer. William Ryan’s discussion prompted scholars to research slave communities, the impact of white supremacy, the free African American community before the civil war, and if the heritage of the African Americans had truly been broken.

Throughout the years studies by many scholars have attempted to analyze how slavery truly affected the African American community and their culture. These studies have included Black Activism within the Black Abolitionist community, Ex-Slaves, Freeborn’s , and so on. Many of these studies showed the formation that black activist used with white reformists to fight against the institutions of slavery, while others tried to show the dynamics of the African American community life, all with in the Northern states, and if they could be considered contributing member of society.Lastly, other studies conducted showed the division and unifying issues with the African American community, which still considered that little is known about.


Do you think the effects of slavery can still be attributed to the still very real issue of racism in America today?

Do those who were not subjected to slavery have the voice to proclaim what slavery can do to a person?

What types of issues could have caused division in the African American community before the civil war?