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Free Blacks in the South
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, General Research and Reference Division

Reverend William J. Simmons, Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising (Cleveland: G. M. Rewell & Co., 1887)

W. Q. Atwood

Some enslaved men and women acquired their freedom by purchasing it with money they earned as skilled tradespeople. Others were purchased by free family members or abolitionist societies in the North. Still others were granted their freedom by their former owners. W. Q. Atwood's owner was also his father, not an unusual circumstance in slaveholding states. Freed by his father in the 1850s, Atwood migrated to Ripley, Ohio, where he became a successful lumber merchant and speaker.

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