Slavery, as an institution, is the deep spread root which has conveyed affliction among African and Native American people over hundreds of years in America. The multiple facets of oppression is not only the foundation for which they were controlled, exploited, and repressed, by the Anglo race, but also as a tool utilized for them to unwillingly abnegate their cultures, religions, and autonomy.
The system was designed to physically, mentally, and spiritually raze African and Native Americans for the sake of economic and sexual gains as well as psychological dominance. And the mannerisms of slavery conducted by white society, defined the value of race, and the standard of status and power.
However, one part of history that is—to some degree—overlooked or unspoken is the fact that once many Black slaves were freed, they became “Black masters” themselves, owning more than 10 slaves and a wealth of land.
The following are 5 of the wealthiest freed black masters in the United States:
Anthony Johnson (c1600–1670)
Anthony Johnson was born in Angola and brought to the US to work on a tobacco farm in 1619. He married a black female servant while on the farm and once freed, maintained his own successful farm with 250 acres and both black and Irish indentured servants. According to colonial records, Johnson is best known for not only being one of the first Black slave masters, but also for having the court rule in favor of him “holding” slave John Casor indefinitely.
William Ellison Jr, born April Ellison, (C. April, 1790 – 5 December 1861)
William Ellison Jr was a slave who purchased his own freedom at 26 and shortly after his wife—Matilda, and children’s as well. Ultimately, Ellison became the wealthiest black master in all of South Carolina. He owned 60 slaves and more than 1,000 acres of land at his death.
Antoine Dubuclet (1810 – December 18, 1887)
Was born in Louisiana to free black parents, Antoine Dubuclet, Sr and Rosale (Belly). His father was part owner of a successful sugar plantation known as Cedar Grove. After his father died, Dubuclet took over the plantation along with the 70 slaves. He eventually married a wealthy black woman, and when she died, he inherited several properties, making him the wealthiest free black slave master in Louisiana by 1860.
Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, of Colleton District, South Carolina
Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry were two of the wealthiest free black masters, each owning 84 slaves in 1830. They were known for not practicing a “benevolent form of slaveownership. The blacks considered their slaves as chattel property; bought sold, mortgaged, willed, traded, and transferred fellow blacks; demanded long hours in the workshops and fields; severely disciplined recalcitrant blacks; and hunted down escaped slaves.”
Widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards
Widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards owned a large sugar cane plantation and held the largest number of slaves–152–in Louisiana.
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