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Betsey Baptiste came to Georgia in 1795 as an African slave and received her freedom in 1813. She worked as a "vendor of small wares" and was able to support herself, buy a house and add to her property holdings over the years. Betsey was forced to live under the authority of nineteenth century whites, who were uncomfortable with this odd class of free blacks in a slave-holding society. The whites created laws to control and hinder virtually every action of the blacks. Despite the constant hardships she faced, Betsey lived fifty-one years in Savannah as a free black. She never married or had children and she died in 1857 of old age.

Publication Date

Spring 1994

Betsey Baptiste: Biography of a Free Woman of Color

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