How Did Older Established Communities of Free African Thrive in America?

established communities of free african

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It is an honor to present this informative article about how older established communities of free African thrived in America. Although African communities have been present in America since the early 17th century, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that free African communities began to emerge. In this article, we will examine and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these communities, delve into their histories, and how they adapted to life in a predominantly white society.


Throughout history, African communities have faced countless instances of mistreatment, prejudice, and persecution. However, between the late 18th century and early 19th century, African Americans began to establish communities in America that would help to shape the future of this nation. One of the most significant of these communities was the free African American community, who paved the way for an entirely new way of life amid an era of slave labor and discrimination.

The free African American community was composed of individuals who had gained their freedom through manumission or were born free pre-Civil War. Many of these individuals still faced hardships and social inequality despite their newfound freedom.

The free African communities were dedicated to providing education and advancing their economic status, which was severely limited by the discriminatory environment in which they resided. African American communities banded together in solidarity, their resilience serving as an inspiration for other communities to follow.

The establishment of free African American communities also marks a significant milestone in American history. It provided hope for the future of African Americans, marking the eventual end of slavery and the realization of individual rights and freedom for all people.

The establishment of these communities was not easy, and many African Americans faced tremendous difficulties in breaking through social and economic barriers, which were strategically erected to maintain control over their lives.

However, despite these obstacles, African Americans persisted, building stronger and more connected communities that enabled them to thrive and live dignified lives.

Strengths And Weaknesses Of Older Established Communities Of Free African


1. Economic Stability: Free African communities commonly established their businesses and economic enterprises, which contributed significantly to their economic empowerment. They developed specialized skills, such as farming, carpentry, and other trades, which allowed them to meet the needs of their community.

2. Education and Scholarship: Early free African communities were passionate about advancing education as a tool for breaking through social, economic, and political barriers. They established schools, churches, and community centers to promote education amidst an era where obtaining an education as an African American was an extreme rarity. These institutions became essential centers of learning, advancement, and rebuilding efforts throughout the United States.

3. Political Engagement: Free African communities also engaged in political action, seeking to influence the legal and political environs that were inhibiting their progress. They had a high level of involvement in political movements such as the abolition of slavery and the securing of the right to vote for African Americans, enabling them to take active roles in recognizing their stake in the nation’s affairs.

4. Religious ties: Early free African communities were closely linked through their religious heritage. They found strength in their shared beliefs, which brought them together, despite other differences and discrimination they experienced. Members of African American communities often attended church together, building relationships with one another and finding refuge in the worship space.

5. Community support: The free African communities were very supportive of one another and came together to provide help to those suffering from financial hardships, health problems, or any other life hardships. Because of their communal approach to living, they established welfare practices to support those in need and provide assistance for daily living.

6. Family support: Family was an essential aspect of the free African community, which placed great emphasis on the upbringing and protection of family members. Families offered each other support and security and exhibited tight-knit family structures to protect any hints of failure or negative societal representation.

7. Cultural resilience: Free African communities remained culturally resilient, finding ways to express their cultures despite the limitations placed on them. They embraced their heritage through art, music, poetry, dance, and oral traditions, which discouraged them from forgetting their roots.


1. Social exclusion: The free African communities faced significant social exclusion as they were surrounded by hostile and discriminatory environments. They were almost entirely rejected from participating in activities with white counterparts, creating isolation and inferiority complexes in members of that community.

2. Education limitations: For the free African communities, access to education was limited or outright denied, limiting their potential for progress and participation in society. When African Americans did attend school, educational institutions were often underfunded and inferior, limiting their knowledge bases and limiting successful social mobility opportunities.

3. Limited employment opportunities: Racial discrimination disadvantages free African communities from acquiring top-tier jobs, which resulted in them being the first to experience economic depressions and community hardships. This segregation created long-lasting inequality and limited the economic success of many African Americans.

4. Poor healthcare: The free African communities had little access to quality healthcare or medicine, often lacking the resources to receive basic medical treatments. This resulted in a higher mortality rate, particularly due to the spread of epidemics and pandemics over the years.

5. Housing segregation: Free African communities lived in subpar and segregated residential areas, which limited mobility and access to resources, goods, and services. Government policies such as redlining restricted the ability of African Americans to own property, create integrated neighborhoods, or access credit or loans.

6. Crime: Urban free African communities have confronted a higher rate of crime compared to white communities. This is usually as a result of exclusion, poverty, and social disorder. Crime within African American communities was often stigmatized, leading to the massive over-policing of African American neighborhoods, rather than fulfilling empathy to help create health and safety in these areas.

7. Racial bias: African Americans long suffered from prejudice and bias based on their race. This type of discrimination fostered an environment in which free African communities were pushed to perform above and beyond to gain the same access to resources and opportunities as their white counterparts. In addition, the negative stereotypes surrounding African Americans often limited their participation in society even as free peers.

Table showing details of established communities of free African

Community Name Year Established State/Region Estimated Population Notable Figures
Philadelphia 1684 Pennsylvania Between 500 to 1400 James Forten, Robert Purvis
Brooklyn 1834 New York Between 500 to 600 N/A
Baltimore 1800 Maryland Between 500 to 1000 Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman
Cincinnati 1815 Ohio Between 500 to 800 N/A
Boston 1638 Massachusetts Between 800 to 1000 Prince Hall, Sarah Roberts
Charleston 1865 South Carolina Between 500 to 1000 Denmark Vesey, Robert Smalls
Chicago 1850 Illinois Between 500 to 1000 Ida B. Wells, Jesse Binga
Los Angeles 1850 California Between 300 to 500 N/A

13 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When did free African communities begin to emerge?

Free African communities began to emerge in the 1800s, particularly after the abolishment of slavery in the United States in the early 1860s.

2. Were free African communities able to attend school?

Access to education was limited for African Americans, and many had to fight for their right to attend schools throughout the United States. However, many free African communities established schools for themselves, and some members of the community were educated at Ivy League institutions.

3. Did free African communities have access to medical treatment?

Free African communities had limited access to healthcare, which particularly affected their children’s health throughout the United States. African American communities, in many cases, established their hospitals and medical centers as a solution.

4. Did free African communities primarily reside in urban or rural environments?

Free African communities existed in both urban and rural environments in the United States. Urban communities tended to form larger communities because of access to contrasting economic opportunities, creating more ease in developing community enterprises and supporting one another.

5. What were some of the livelihood opportunities for African Americans in free communities?

Free African communities established economic enterprises that enabled them to provide for their families and develop specialized trades. These businesses were assisted by communal support and partnerships within the community.

6. What was the role of religion in free African communities?

Religion was an essential aspect of life for many free African communities, offering solace and support in times of hardship. African Americans often attended church together, constructing relationships and trust within congregants, helping unify the community even against hostile and oppressive societal issues.

7. What were some of the challenges that free African communities faced?

Free African communities faced many hardships, including unemployment, limited access to education, subpar housing, and discrimination. All of these social and economic challenges which made survival nearly impossible but African American communities managed to band together to assist one another and fight against adversity.

8. What was the significance of free African communities in America?

The establishment of free African communities marked significant progress in American history and provided hope for the future of African Americans. They served as inspiration and foundation for the civil rights movement as these communities fought for equality in every regard. These communities further pioneered economic and social advancement for all African American communities, paving the way for integration in later generations throughout the US.

9. What was the impact of redlining in African American communities?

Redlining excluded African Americans from accessing essential resources such as credit and purchasing property in preferred localities. Redlining created subpar and segregated living environments, limiting African Americans’ mobility and diminishing their opportunities for economic growth and stability. It remains a significant contributor to the inequalities African Americans faced throughout America.

10. What contributions did free African communities make to the broader American society?

Free African communities contributed much to American society, establishing economic, social, and religious institutions that became the foundations of entire cities and shaping the character of democratic fairness in America. They provided examples of achievement, resilience, and courage against all odds, inspiring the whole nation and fostering progress towards a fairer and successful society for all inhabitants, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, or origin.

11. What was the significance of African American communities in politics?

Free African communities played a significant role in politics, including the abolition of slavery and securing voting rights for African Americans. African Americans consistently advocated for political change and their rights as citizens, participating in the democratic process and shaping policy.

12. What impact did the Civil Rights Movement have on free African communities?

The Civil Rights movement focused on African Americans’ rights and equalities, advocating against discrimination and prejudice. The movement spurred many legal and social changes, celebrating racial equality and challenging the oppressive, discriminatory status quo. In many cases, this led to significant progress towards social and economic equality for African Americans in America.

13. Why are African American communities important in America’s history?

African American communities shaped and formed a significant portion of American history, often fighting against extreme hardship and adversity. Despite facing considerable obstacles such as exclusion, discrimination, and segregation, African Americans have always arisen through resilience, solidarity, and perseverance, contributing to America’s economic, political, and social development.


Older established communities of free African were significant contributors to American history, leading to positive social, economic, and political changes. They created a foundation for African Americans to achieve, resistance against oppression, and progress towards equal rights. Though they faced many challenges and obstacles, these African Americans communities refused to give up, banding together to support one another and building resiliency. The world has much to learn from these communities and understand that diversity, equality, and, above all, a sense of community can build a brighter and fairer future for all.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope that provided valuable information about how older established communities of free African thrived in America.

Disclaimer: This article’s views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher, including, and are solely those of the author.

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