Selling free blacks into slavery, slave stealing etc.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
The "Reverse Underground Railroad", selling free blacks into slavery, was highlighted in the movie based on the ante bellum book "Twelve Years a Slave". It is hard to know because it was illegal, but probably at least a thousand free blacks a year were sold into slavery. Less dramatic was slave stealing, usually in the upper south, and selling the slaves to the deep south plantations. In either cases, there were two approaches, one was luring the free black with the promise of money, etc. or the slave with the promise of freedom. The other aproach was to take the free or slave black person by force, destroying identification.

There was the case I mentioned earlier of an Alsatian indentured servant who was apparently made into a slave. I would assume that was the tip of the iceberg and there were many other cases of white indentured servant who were denied freedom and represented as mulatto slaves. There were probably also cases of dark appearing white, perhaps part native American, who were kidnapped and sold into slavery. I think I read about cases where people apprehended as escaped slaves claimed to be white.
Sep 2016
Sullivan County, NY
During the Confederate "incursion" into Pennsylvania during the Civil War as many blacks as could be found, free born, manumitted, what have you, were taken south during the retreat and sold into slavery at Richmond.