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A List of Free Negroes and Mulattoes

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A List of Free Negroes and Mulattoes Residing within the District of Richard Perkins Commissioner of the Revenue in the County of Campbell North District for the Year 1833.

In the aftermath of the Nat Turner insurrection in 1831, the General Assembly enacted several statutes with the intent of compelling blacks to leave the commonwealth. One such law, passed 4 March 1833 "making appropriations for the removal of free persons of colour" to the western coast of Africa, established a board of commissioners charged with carrying out the provisions of the act. Lists, such as the one submitted by Richard Perkins in 1833, were meant to assist the commissioners in determining who might be encouraged to emigrate. Perkins's list includes the names of free African Americans within a specific section of Campbell County and identifies each individual by name, color, sex, age, and occupation.

Restrictive laws against Virginia's free blacks had been in force for more than a quarter century. On 25 January 1803, the General Assembly had required localities to register every free Negro or mulatto living within their jurisdiction. County court clerks kept books listing free blacks by name, age, color, and stature, and by distinguishing marks or scars on the face, head, or hands. Unfortunately, few of these informative lists survive. Those that do contain some of the earliest-surviving registers of African American families in Virginia.

Location: Auditor of Public Accounts, Entry 757, Reports of Free Negroes and Mulattoes, 1833-1836, Record Group 48