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North Carolina Freedom Park: Fighting for Freedom

This guide contains information about the creation of the NC Freedom Park and its board members; an overview of African American history in North Carolina; and the themes of freedom as they relate to culture, education, and business and law.

Maroons and Runaways

Maroons and Runaways: Articles and Dissertations

Austin, Karl Maddox. "The Morass of Resistance during the Antebellum: Agents of Freedom in the Great Dismal Swamp." Order No. 10265142, American University, 2017.

Day, Thomas. “Mired Memory: ‘Marronage’ in The Great Dismal Swamp.” Social and Economic Studies 67, no. 1 (2018): 33-47.

Golden, Kathryn Elise Benjamin. "Through the Muck and Mire: Marronage, Representation, and Memory in the Great Dismal Swamp." Order No. 10816265, University of California, Berkeley, 2018.

Hunter, Antwain K. “‘A Nuisance Requiring Correction’: Firearm Laws, Black Mobility, and White Property in Antebellum Eastern North Carolina.” The North Carolina Historical Review 93, no. 4 (2016): 386-404.

Kay, Marvin L. Michael, and Lorin Lee Cary. “Slave Runaways in Colonial North Carolina, 1748-1775.” The North Carolina Historical Review 63, no. 1 (1986): 1-39.

Free People of Color

James Willian Evans Family

"James William Evans (1814-1883), his wife Mary Eliza Hoggard, and their children William, John and Mary Evans. Mary Eliza Hoggard was a descendant of the free African American Cobb and Bazemore families of  Bertie County, North Carolina. James William Evans was from Dorchester County, Maryland."

Image and caption credit: Nineteenth Century Photos, part 5, Free African Americans in Colonial Virgina, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware, website.

Matilda Banks

"Matilda Blanks, born about 1870, was the daughter of Salter and Curly Blanks of Bladen County, North Carolina, granddaughter of Mikal Blanks, great granddaughter of Alfred Blanks, and great-great granddaughter of John Blanks who was a "Mixt Blood" taxable in Bladen County in 1774."

Image and caption credit: Nineteenth Century Photos, part 9, Free African Americans in Colonial Virgina, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware, website.

Dora Anderson Miller

"Dora Anderson Miller, born June 1859 in Henry County, Tennessee, married George Miller in Chattanooga and died in Ohio in 1924. She was the daughter of Sandy Anderson who was born in Granville County, North Carolina, in 1825. She was apparently the descendant of Files (Phillis?) Anderson, born about 1785, who was listed in Sandy's household in the 1880 Henry County census.

The Anderson family of Granville County was freed in 1712 by the Norfolk County, Virginia will of John Fulcher."

Image and caption credit: Nineteenth Century Photos, part 9, Free African Americans in Colonial Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware, website.

Free People of Color: Articles and Dissertations

Batchman, Lindsey A. "Thinking Resistance: Free Black Intellectual Life in the Antebellum South." Order No. 10269569, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2017.

Franklin, John Hope. “The Free Negro in the Economic Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina: Part I.” The North Carolina Historical Review 19, no. 3 (1942): 239-59.

Milteer, Warren E. “Life in a Great Dismal Swamp Community: Free People of Color in Pre-Civil War Gates County, North Carolina.” The North Carolina Historical Review 91, no. 2 (2014): 144-70.

Rohrs, Richard C. “The Free Black Experience in Antebellum Wilmington, North Carolina: Refining Generalizations about Race Relations.” The Journal of Southern History 78, no. 3 (2012): 615-38.

Schweninger, Loren. “Prosperous Blacks in the South, 1790-1880.” The American Historical Review 95, no. 1 (1990): 31-56.

West, Emily. "“We Chilluns, Long Wid Her, Wuz Lak De Udder Slaves”: Free Black Families and Quasi-Slavery in the Late Antebellum Era." Journal of American Studies 55, no. 5 (12, 2021): 991-1018. doi:


Black Soliders

Soldier dressed in blue Union uniform

Parker David Robbins (1834-Nov. 1, 1917)

Sergeant-Major of the Second U.S. Colored Cavalry, born in Bertie County, NC

Image Credit: Robbins, Parker David, NCpedia biographical article. 

John Van Surly DeGrasse (June 1825-Nov. 25, 1868)

Assistant surgeon in the 1st NC Colored Volunteers of the Union Army and the first African American to be admitted to an American medical society. 

Image credit: John Van Surly Degrasse (1825-1868),

U.S. Army Lt. J Thomas. Bullock

"African American U.S. Army Lt. J Thomas. Bullock. Born and raised in Henderson, N.C., Bullock served in the Spanish-American War, and later served as the principal of the Williston Industrial School in Wilmington, N.C. Bullock served during World War I in the 367th Infantry, U.S. Army. He died in action at the Second Battle of the Marne in France on September 2, 1918"

Image Credit: From Compiled Individual Military Service Records, WWI 14, WWI Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina. Accessed through 

Black Soldiers: Articles and Dissertations

Bollettino, Maria Alessandra. "Slavery, War, and Britain's Atlantic Empire: Black Soldiers, Sailors, and Rebels in the Seven Years' War." Order No. 3445982, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009.

Brimmer, Brandi C. "Her Claim for Pension Is Lawful and Just": Representing Black Union Widows in Late-Nineteenth Century North Carolina." The Journal of the Civil War Era 1, no. 2 (2011): 207-236. doi:10.1353/cwe.2011.0029

Browning, Judkin Jay. “‘Little Souled Mercenaries’? The Buffaloes of Eastern North Carolina during the Civil War.” The North Carolina Historical Review 77, no. 3 (2000): 337-63.

Coffman, Peter W. "He has Earned the Right of Citizenship": The Black Soldiers of North Carolina in the Civil War; A Comment on Historiography, Treatment, and Pensions." Order No. 1590073, East Carolina University, 2015.

Gatewood, Willard B. “North Carolina’s Negro Regiment in the Spanish-American War.” The North Carolina Historical Review 48, no. 4 (1971): 370-87.

Hutchins, Shana Renee “Just Learning To Be Men: A History of the 35th United States Colored Troops, 1863-1866” (MA Thesis, North Carolina State University, 1999).

McGuire, Samuel B. “The Making of a Black Militia Company: New Bern Troops in the Kirk-Holden War, 1870.” The North Carolina Historical Review 91, no. 3 (2014): 288-322.