Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Genealogy Club

Archives and History staff historian Greg Carroll will present "Slaves and Free People of Color in Western Virginia from 1800 to 1860" at the meeting of the Thursday evening Genealogy Club on August 11, 2011. The club will meet from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the West Virginia Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. Meetings of the Genealogy Club are free and the public is invited to attend.

Carroll will look at the political and legal lives of both slaves and free people of color. Slavery did not exist in western Virginia in anywhere near the numbers that it did in the east. In a few areas, such as the Eastern Panhandle and the Kanawha Valley, slaves were more numerous. The panhandle was primarily an agricultural area having more in common with its eastern neighbors than counties to the west. In the Kanawha Valley, slaves were mainly used in the salt industry and were the first to commercially mine coal in this area. Free people of color were often freed slaves or mixed race people who were slowly being driven from the eastern Virginia counties by oppressive racial laws. This was especially true after Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831. These issues will be discussed and questions are invited.

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