A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks
Howard Bodenhorn ()
The Journal of Economic History, 1999, vol. 59, issue 4, 972-996
Formal rules and informal customs created innumerable obstacles to the socioeconomic advance of Virginia's free black population. Laws prohibited free blacks from some activities and occupations and restricted their participation in others. Racism and Klan-like terrorism also made advancement difficult. Despite these disadvantages, Virginia's free black population fared rather well. They grew nearly as tall as white Americans and towered over contemporaiy Europeans. Primary sources and the secondary literature are consistent with the anthropometric evidence.
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