PART II: (BLACK SLAVE OWNERS) by: Joseph E. Holloway
The majority of black slave owners were members of the mulatto class, and in some cases were the sons and daughters of white slave masters. Many of the mulatto slave owners separated themselves from the masses of black people and attempted to establish a caste system based on color, wealth, and free status. According to Martin Delany, the colored community of Charleston City clung to the assumptions of the superiority of white blood and brown skin complexion. These mulattoes of the old free Black elite did not attend church with the dark-skinned blacks of Charleston City. They not only formed congregations which excluded freedmen of dark complexion, but they only married among other mulattoes to “keep the color in the family.” Large numbers of free Blacks owned black slaves in numbers disproportionate to their representation in society. According to the federal census of 1830, free blacks owned more than 10,000 slaves in Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia. The majority of black slave-owners lived in Louisiana and planted sugar cane.
Many enslaved mulattoes like William Ellison started out as a slave. Another case is Anthony Weston, a de facto free black of Charleston City, was trained as a millwright. As the slave of Plowder Weston, he was able to hire himself out to several white planters as well as work for his master. In 1826, his master declared him freed. His skill as a millwright allowed him to accumulate a great deal of wealth and he began to invest in slaves. Technically being a slave himself, he purchased a large number of slaves in his wife's name between 1834 and 1835, to purchase a total of 20 slaves, investing $8,950. He trained some of his slaves as mill wrights and they worked in his business. He became one of the wealthiest black persons in the city. By 1860, his estate was valued at $48,075 by city officials In 1822, Moses Brown, a colored barber, purchased an African American boy named Moses from Mary Warhaim for $300. He trained the boy in the art of barbering. By 1823, the boy was working in his shop on 5 Tradd Street as a barber. In 1829, Camilla Johnson, a colored pastry cook, purchased a mulatto woman named Charleston Todd from Joseph and Ann Wilkie for $375. According to a Charleston socialite, Camilla Johnson used her mulatto servant to work at several of the parties she was hired to cater.
Richard Edward Dereef was one of the richest black men in Charleston. He had a Wharf at the end of Chapel Street, was in the wood business, and owned slaves and rental properties, most of which were located on the east side of Charleston. Richard Dereef would never have been accepted into Charleston’s elite mulatto society, but he claimed to be an Indian- and had money. For the most part the mulatto slave owner aligned themselves with the white ruling class and helped to preserve the system of slavery.
Among black slave holders the free mulattoes owners were over represented, being the offspring of white planters and merchants. Many of their white fathers provided for them. Thomas Hanscome, a white planter of St. James and Goose Creek, provided for the mulatto children of Nancy Randale, a free black woman, with six slaves as well as stocks and bonds valued at $150,000. In 1823, the mulatto children of Henry Glencamp, the superintendent of the Sante Canal, and Jenny Wilson, a free black woman, inherited eighteen slaves as well as the plantation called Pine Hill in Stephens of Charleston District. Many white fathers accepted their black children as legitimate heirs. For example, the children of Michael Fowler, a white planter of Christ church Parish, and his black slave/wife named Sibb lived as man and wife and raised a family on his plantation. According to Calvin D. Wilson “there was a rich planter in Charleston named Fowler who took a woman of African descent and established her in his home…There was a daughter born, who was called Isabella; the planter insisted that she be called as miss Fowler. He expected his slaves to treat his mulatto children if though they were white. His children were so acculturated into the white elite slave holding class that they only associated with whites. In 1810, the estate of Michael Fowler was divided among his mulatto children: John Fowler, Jacob Fowler, Stanhope Fowler, Nelly Fowler Collins, Becky Fowler and Isabell Fowler Dereef. The Fowler failed to emancipate any of their slaves and regarded them as investment property. They held their slaves until the end of the Civil War. Richard Holloway Sr., a free person of color bought a slave named Charles Benford in order that the slave might enjoy his freedom. Yet at the same time he owned other slaves who were not treated so kindly. In 1834, he purchased a slave woman named Sarah and her two children, Annett and Edward, from Susan B. Robertson for $575. Within three years after the purchase, he apparently became dissatisfied with the slave family and sold them for $945. Even though Richard Holloway, Sr., allowed a trusted servant to enjoy-his freedom, he was still a slave owner for profit. He sold and purchased slaves as an investment. In 1851, Elizabeth Collinis Holloway, a woman of color, placed her servant Celia in the city jail after her slave had run away. In 1852, Holloway’s servant Peggy was confined in the workhouse for disciplinary reasons. In the Palmetto (rice areas) there were only seven large rice planters of African descent, and they were primarily related to white kin. One example of this is the Pendarvis family, which was one of the largest slave owning “colored” families to plant rice in the state during the 1730s. The mulatto children of Joseph Pendarvis, a white planter of Colleton County, and his African mistress Parthena, were given 1,009 acres of land near the Green Savanna as well as a plantation in Charleston Neck. Joseph Pendarvis gave to his children James, Brand, William, John, Thomas, Mary, and Elizabeth, land, money and slaves. They became one of the wealthiest and most prominent slaveholding families in South Carolina. James the first born received most of the property of his deceased father, and owned more than 100 slaves. By 1786, he owned 113 slaves and 3,250 acres of land. The 1790 census informs us that he owned 123 slaves. Many of the mulatto offspring of white planters became large plantation owners in their own right. For example, Margaret Mitchell Harris and her half brother Robert Michael Collins inherit money, plantation and slaves from their white father. In 1844, she bought Santee Plantation for 4,050, but made $7,635 from the harvest in 1849. She ran a profitable enterprise.
It wasn't just light skinned mulattoes types that owned slaves...
In parts of Africa brown and dark skinned mixed raced elites owned non-mixed indigenous slaves.
In Africa intra-tribal slavery among non-mixed indigenous people existed.
In the modern-day world, Blacks (from all over the world) of all complexions/ancestral backgrounds have been involved in holding captive and trafficking (labor, sex) blacks of various ethnic backgrounds from all over the world.