0

Upon the abolition of slavery in the USA, there were suddenly millions of former slaves set free. But they were left without an obvious workplace. On the other side, millions of jobs done previously by slaves were now without manpower.

I would guess that at least some slaves stayed as – now paid – employees of their former owners, while those who were brutally mistreated, or who hoped they could find better employment elsewhere, just left.

However, I don't know about the statistics. There are many detailed articles about the end of slavery in the US, discussing different futures of freed slaves (some getting their own farms, some migrating North, even a very few migrating to Africa), but no statistics are given.

Were those who stayed an insignificant number, the majority, or somewhere in-between?

Are there detailed statistics? Or if there aren't, can at least rough estimates be inferred? I'm referring to former slaves being in the direct employ of their former owners, so cases of getting the land they worked on as their own, don't count.

  • 3
    Relevant reading for your research. – Denis de Bernardy Oct 13 at 12:18
  • @DenisdeBernardy : I know about that project, but that doesn't answer how many stayed as employees of their former owners. – vsz Oct 13 at 12:24
  • 2
    The vast majority of them stayed around insofar as I'm aware, but I unfortunately don't know the precise stat. As explained in the linked article though, northern states didn't want black migrants due to "fear of competition by black workers, as well as generalized racial prejudice". There's also more recent work that raised that about a quarter of freed slaves died between 1862 and 1870 from famine or illness. So whatever the precise stat you end up finding is, you'll need to consider whether that was factored in. – Denis de Bernardy Oct 13 at 12:39
  • @LangLangC : just to make it clear: I'm in no way supporting slavery of any kind. What I wanted to express, that I assumed that those slaves who were treated exceptionally brutally by their owners, were beaten, flogged etc. didn't stay to work for them after they were freed. Do you have better expressions in mind to formulate this, to avoid misunderstandings? – vsz Oct 13 at 17:30
  • I did some cursory googling, but couldn't find any readily available stats. The closest thing I found was this piece by PBS. Kansas was the most welcoming nearby state. Around 30k (out of 4M) former slaves moved there, which is epsilon. Migrations occurred later, during the Great Migration(s). – Denis de Bernardy Oct 13 at 18:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.