A Window on the Valley: A Study of the Free Black Community of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia, 1785 - 1860

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Ebert, Rebecca Aleene
Grimsted, David
This is the first substantial study which has been undertaken on the free black community of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia. It explains who the free blacks were, where they lived, how they obtained their freedom, how they maintained it, how they constituted a community, and how they interacted with slaves and whites. These free blacks engaged in a variety of occupations; they did not dominate any one field of employment. The population was predominately young and individuals and families appeared to remain stable throughout the era studied. In later years, female -headed households became more common. The records available on free blacks in Frederick County are limited. Therefore, this investigation has been primarily through official records generated by the local courts and state government. They have, however, been sufficient to suggest a growing and viable group that was accepted by and contributed to the larger community throughout the ante-bellum years.