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"Forgotten Heroes: The Role of Free Blacks in Anne Arundel County's History"



Anne Arundel County, Maryland has a rich and significant African American history that extends far beyond the well-known figures and events often celebrated during Black History Month. In this article, we will focus specifically on the role of the free black population in Anne Arundel County in the 1800s, examining the experiences and contributions of this community during this time period.


According to the 1860 Federal Census, the free African American population in Anne Arundel County was about 4,800, or about 20% of the county's total population of 23,900, while the enslaved African American population accounted for about 7,300 or 30% of total Anne Arundel County population. (Maryland State Archives, n.d.). As seen in these numbers, the free black population in the county played an important role in the county's history and development.


One important aspect of the free black population in Anne Arundel County in the 1800s was their role in the county's economy. Many free black individuals in the county worked as farmers, domestic servants, and artisans, contributing to the county's agricultural and industrial growth (Maryland State Archives, n.d.). Free black farmers in the county were often able to purchase land and establish their own farms, providing an important source of income and independence for these individuals (Maryland State Archives, n.d.). Free black artisans in the county, including blacksmiths, carpenters, and shoemakers, were also able to establish their own businesses and provide important goods and services to the community (Maryland State Archives, n.d.).


According to the 1860 Federal Census, the majority of free black individuals in Anne Arundel County worked in agriculture, with many individuals owning their own farms or working as farm laborers (Maryland State Archives, n.d.). A small number of free black individuals in the county also worked as domestic servants, providing important household services to white families in the county (Maryland State Archives, n.d.).


Another important aspect of the free black population in Anne Arundel County in the 1800s was their role in the county's social and cultural life. According to the Maryland State Archives, free black individuals in the county were often active in their communities, participating in religious and social organizations and working to promote education and other forms of community improvement (Maryland State Archives, n.d.). Free black individuals in the county also played important roles in the county's abolition movement, with many individuals working as abolitionists and supporting enslaved individuals in their efforts to gain freedom (Maryland State Archives, n.d.).


In conclusion, the free black population in Anne Arundel County in the 1800s played an important role in the county's history and development, contributing to the county's economy and participating actively in the county's social and cultural life. Despite facing significant challenges and discrimination due to their race, free black individuals in the county were able to establish their own businesses, farms, and organizations, and worked to promote education, community improvement, and abolition.


References:


Maryland State Archives. (n.d.). 1860 Federal Census. Retrieved from http://slavery.msa.maryland.gov/html/research/census1860.html

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