Slavery, Slaveholding, and the Free Black Population of Antebellum Baltimore


This book promises to become the standard work of the history of the slaves, slaveholders, and the free black population of Antebellum Baltimore. For five years, Mr. Clayton has collected, transcribed, and cross-indexed a great variety of documents: applications for certificates of freedom, slave schedules, field assessor work books, census schedules, mortality schedules, general property tax records, city directories, newspaper advertisements and articles, the Schomburg collection at the Pratt Library in Baltimore, original letter manuscripts, and acts of the General Assembly of Maryland. The growth of Baltimore’s black community, free and slave, was supported by two geographical factors of Baltimore. The city’s thriving harbor offered a large employment market that attracted free blacks and offered slaveholders the opportunity to hire out their slaves. And Baltimore’s position between the North and the South made it a logical station for escaped slaves either trying to reach the North or hoping to blend in with Baltimore’s large free black population. The result of Mr. Clayton’s labors is a comprehensive, fascinating, and sometimes painful view of an important period in the history of Charm City for which researchers everywhere will thank him.

Ralph Clayton

(1993), 2015, 5½x8½, paper, index, 364 pp.

ISBN: 9781556138683