Free people of color

free woman of colorfree blacksgens de couleurfree person of colorfree man of colorfree persons of colorfree men of colorfree blackgens de couleur libresfree people of colour
In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color (French: gens de couleur libres; Spanish: gente de color libre) were people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American descent who were not enslaved.wikipedia
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Haiti

Republic of HaitiHaïtiHaitian
The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed.
In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color launched the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture.

Saint-Domingue

Saint DomingueSt. DomingueSt. Domingo
The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed. By the late 18th century prior to the Haitian Revolution, Saint-Domingue was legally divided into three distinct groups: free whites (who were divided socially between the plantation-class grands blancs and the working-class petits blancs); freedmen (affranchis), and slaves. Free people of color were leaders in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which achieved independence in 1804 as the Republic of Haiti.
In 1791, enslaved Africans and some free people of color of Saint-Domingue began waging a rebellion against French authority.

Dominica

Commonwealth of DominicaDominicanDMA
The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed.
But the island population, especially the class of free people of color, resisted British restrictions.

New Orleans

New Orleans, LouisianaNew Orleans, LAOrleans Parish
In these territories and major cities, particularly New Orleans, and those cities held by the Spanish, a substantial third class of primarily mixed-race, free people developed.
While that name had been used by a militia before the war, that group was composed of free people of color.

Guadeloupe

GuadaloupeBasse-Terre IslandBasse-Terre
The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed.
Under new revolutionary law free people of colour were entitled to equal rights.

Free Negro

free blackfree blacksfree
In the Thirteen Colonies settled by the British, later to become the United States, the term free negro was often used to cover the same class of people – those who were legally free and visibly of ethnic African descent.
It included both freed slaves (freedmen) and those who had been born free (free people of color).

Haitian Revolution

revolutionslave revoltHaiti
By the late 18th century prior to the Haitian Revolution, Saint-Domingue was legally divided into three distinct groups: free whites (who were divided socially between the plantation-class grands blancs and the working-class petits blancs); freedmen (affranchis), and slaves.
The end of French rule and the abolition of slavery in the former colony was followed by a successful defense of the freedoms they won, and, with the collaboration of free persons of color, their independence from white Europeans.

Abolitionism

abolitionistabolition of slaveryabolitionists
The term gens de couleur was commonly used in France's West Indian colonies prior to the abolition of slavery, where it was a short form of gens de couleur libres (, "free people of color").
After the Revolution, on 4 April 1792, France granted free people of colour full citizenship.

André Rigaud

RigaudAndre RigaudSouth Haiti
The competition between the gens de couleur led by André Rigaud and the black Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture devolved into the War of the Knives.
Benoit Joseph André Rigaud (17 January 1761 – 18 September 1811) was the leading mulatto military leader during the Haitian Revolution.

Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint L'OuvertureToussaint L’OuvertureToussaint L'Overture
The competition between the gens de couleur led by André Rigaud and the black Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture devolved into the War of the Knives.
After defeating leaders among the free people of color, in 1801, he promulgated an autonomist constitution for the colony, which named him as Governor-General for Life.

Affranchi

Affranchis
By the late 18th century prior to the Haitian Revolution, Saint-Domingue was legally divided into three distinct groups: free whites (who were divided socially between the plantation-class grands blancs and the working-class petits blancs); freedmen (affranchis), and slaves. Freed African slaves were included in the term affranchis, but historically they were considered as distinct from the free people of color.
In Saint-Domingue, roughly half of the affranchis were gens de couleur libres (free people of color; Mulatto) and the other half African slaves.

War of Knives

War of the Knivesthe rebellion
The competition between the gens de couleur led by André Rigaud and the black Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture devolved into the War of the Knives.
The War of Knives (French: Guerre des couteaux), also known as the War of the South, was a civil war from June 1799 to July 1800 between the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture, a black ex-slave who controlled the north of Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti), and his adversary André Rigaud, a mixed-race free person of color who controlled the south.

Code Noir

Black Code
Under the ancien régime, despite the provisions of equality nominally established in the Code Noir, the gens de couleur were limited in their freedoms.
In some areas it resulted in a higher percentage of blacks being free people of colour than in the British system (13.2% in Louisiana compared to 0.8% in Mississippi ).

Plaçage

placéeplacageOctoroon balls
Later, when more white families had settled or developed here, some young French men or ethnic French Creoles still took mixed-race women as mistresses, known as placées, before they officially married.
The women were not legally recognized as wives but were known as placées; their relationships were recognized among the free people of color as mariages de la main gauche or left-handed marriages.

Louisiana Creole people

CreoleLouisiana CreoleCreoles
Later, when more white families had settled or developed here, some young French men or ethnic French Creoles still took mixed-race women as mistresses, known as placées, before they officially married.
In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the class of free people of color in Louisiana became associated with the term Creole, and further identification with mixed race took place during the interwar period in the 20th century.

Cuba

Republic of CubaCubanCUB
After their loss in that conflict, many wealthy gens de couleur left as refugees to France, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the United States and elsewhere.
The population of Cuba in 1817 was 630,980, of which 291,021 were white, 115,691 free people of color (mixed-race), and 224,268 black slaves.

Slavery

slaveslavesenslaved
By the late 18th century prior to the Haitian Revolution, Saint-Domingue was legally divided into three distinct groups: free whites (who were divided socially between the plantation-class grands blancs and the working-class petits blancs); freedmen (affranchis), and slaves. In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color (French: gens de couleur libres; Spanish: gente de color libre) were people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American descent who were not enslaved.
As in its Louisiana colony, the French colonial government allowed some rights to free people of color: the mixed-race descendants of white male colonists and black female slaves (and later, mixed-race women).

Sally Hemings

affairsSally Hemings: An American ScandalHemings
Among the most well known is Sally Hemings, who was a slave held by Thomas Jefferson and considered his concubine.
Both Madison and Eston Hemings married free women of color in Charlottesville.

History of Haiti

HaitiHaitian historyU.S. military troops arrived
Free people of color were leaders in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which achieved independence in 1804 as the Republic of Haiti.
Saint-Domingue also had the largest and wealthiest free population of color in the Caribbean, the gens de couleur (French, "people of color").

Nat Turner

Nat Turner RebellionNat Turner slave rebellionNat. Turner
In some Southern states after the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831, the legislatures passed laws that forbade the teaching free blacks or slaves to read and write, which was a requirement for having an apprenticeship.
The rebels ultimately included more than 70 enslaved and free men of color.

Thomas-Alexandre Dumas

Thomas Alexandre DumasAlex DumasAlexander Dumas
He was the first person of color in the French military to become brigadier general, the first to become divisional general, and the first to become general-in-chief of a French army.

William C. C. Claiborne

William C.C. ClaiborneWilliam Charles Cole ClaiborneWilliam Claiborne
William C. C. Claiborne, appointed by Thomas Jefferson as governor of the Territory of Orleans, formally accepted delivery of the French colony on 20 December 1803.
The white elite were initially alarmed when Claiborne retained the services of free people of color in the militia, who had served with considerable distinction during the preceding forty-year Spanish rule.

North Carolina

NCNorthState of North Carolina
Many free people of color migrated to the frontier along with their European-American neighbors, where the social system was looser.

Vincent Ogé

Jacques Vincent OgéVincent Oge
Ogé was a wealthy and educated free man of colour born in Dondon, Saint-Domingue, of one-quarter African descent and three-quarters French ancestry (a "quadroon").

Richard Hill (Jamaica)

Richard Hill
Richard Hill (1795 - 1872), was a Jamaican lawyer and leader of the free people of colour, when they campaigned for equal rights in the early nineteenth century.