freedom colonies

BHM 2017 - Freedom Colonies


We are nearing the halfway point of Black History Month 2017. I've had a few questions from people who are interested in genealogy based in historically Black communities. This is a fascinating topic! In recent years, we have seen several archeological discoveries that have taught us more about Black communities of the nineteenth century, called freedom colonies.

Freedom colonies were located across the country. Some, like Nicodemus, Kansas, were positioned outside white communities, and were completely self-sufficient towns. Others were sizeable neighborhoods within larger cities, like Seneca Village in NYC.

If you are in Texas, you might want to read Thad Sitton's and James Conrad's Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow. It is a good starting place for anyone interested in Texas family histories, regardless of race.

If you have ancestors who lived in a freedom colony, this may be a great advantage for your genealogical research. Many of these communities now have a centralized historic society or records maintained by public parks or libraries. Contact Lynnfield if you need assistance getting started, or if you've hit a wall in your research. We are here to help!