The Hidden White Slaves of America: White on white criminality – A Retrospect

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… the son of a slaveholder and an almost white slave
who was so white that “the closest obsever could not
detect in his appearance any trace of African descent.”
His father sent him off for an education and trade and
he “married an estimable young white woman, and had
a family of five or six children,” all of this without
“the slightest knowledge of the [ ] African blood in
his veins, and no one in the neighborhood knew that
he was the son of an octoroon slave woman.

He made a comfortable living for his family” and
was a member of the white Methodist Church.
Then his father died, and his white half-brother
hunted him down and finally found him in Guilford
County, North Carolina, and informed him for the
first time who he was. The inhuman half-brother
sold him into slavery.

“To get him black enough to sell without question,
they washed his face in tan ooze, and kept him
tied in the sun, and to complete his resemblance
to a mulatto, they cut his hair short and seared it
with a hot iron to make it curly.”
Levi Coffin
1876 pp29-31
electronic edition by
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

“In Louisiana, women, preparatory to whipping, are often stripped to a state of perfect nudity.” Black women only, some aristocrat of color may think. “There is a girl,” said one Colonel Hanna, a member of Mr. Aughey’s church, to the latter, “who does not look very white in the face, owing to exposure; but when I strip her to whip her, I find that she has a skin as fair as my wife.” It is thus evidently the habit of these Mississippi patriarchs to strip and whip women as white of skin as their own wives.

Mr. Aughey speaks of preaching “to a large congregation of slaves, the third of whom were as white as himself,” some with red hair and blue eyes. We remember that slave in Mississippi whose skin, when she was stripped for whipping, was as white as that of her master’s wife. Mr. De Camp, the surgeon above referred to, speaks of having seen standing before him three negro recruits, in whom the “the most critical examination could not detect the slightest trace of negro blood.”

John Hill Aughey
1881 pp421, 424
electronic edition
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,


… a little girl, about nine years old, whose complex-
ion was as fair as the average of white children. She
attracted some attention, and the purchaser related
her history. She was the child of a handsome mulatto
woman, and her father was the Hon. Mr. ________ ,*
Member of Congress from this State. Her mother was
not the slave of Mr. ________ , but was owned by a
neighbor. I believe it is a custom among the Patriarchs
to make an interchange of civilities of this kind.

Here was a child of tender age, appa-
rently white, driven off with a gang of slaves to a distant
land, never again to know a mother’s love, but to be thence-
forth the victim of a tyrant’s lash or lust, while her father,
in the august Senate of the United States, declaims of Lib-
erty!” — Correspondent of the Daily Tribune, St. Louis,
Missouri, Oct. 31st, 1859.
* Our correspondent, who is a most reliable man, gives the name in full,
which will bo imparted to any one entitled to know it:’ — Editor Tribune.


It is impossible to deny that amalgamation prevails to a
fearful extent throughout the South. The testimony is of
too positive and personal a character to be overcome. Nei-
ther is it to be found only in the lower order of the white
population. It pervades the entire society. Its followers
are to be found among all ranks, occupations and professions.

Lydia Child
The Patriarchal Institution
1860 p28

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2 thoughts on “The Hidden White Slaves of America: White on white criminality – A Retrospect”

  1. Very revealing stuff. My country wont teach this in shools. Personly not ashamed of our ancesters been sold into slavery. But i wonder if my country was so nearly completly etnicly cleansed by the british in order for them to colonise this country, i have to ask the question , are we who live in ireland today as irish as we think we are or are the majority of our blood lines actually british? Is this the reason they dont teach this in schoos?

  2. Whites were slaves first, both in America and well before America existed. Whites were slaves of Blacks in North Africa and in Europe. Some whites were even slaves of Blacks in America. Whites were enslaved (often by Blacks) first and for far, far longer than Blacks were enslaved by whites.

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