Part 1: 1450-1750
<---Part 2: 1750-1805
Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

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Modern Voices
Fath Ruffins on free blacks at the end of the Revolutionary War
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Q: What is the significance of free blacks at the end of the war?
Fath Ruffins

A: Free black people are able to establish their own independent institutions and support them independently with their own wages, their own earnings. They're able to create schools, churches, communities, largely under their control. And so they're able to begin to establish the core of what becomes African American culture in the United States. The free black population becomes absolutely crucial, because they're the people who can lead the anti-slavery movement, who can continue to hammer against slavery, and who continue to establish institutions to try to help more people become free. They're crucial. They're absolutely crucial.
Fath Davis Ruffins
Scholar and Researcher
The Smithsonian Institute

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