Were there affluent, educated free blacks, during slavery in the Bahamas? Simple probabilities say there must have been. Could there have been a free black man, acting as an Attorney, for other free blacks in the Bahamas? The answer offers a compelling insight into the life of blacks, during the most perilous period for negroes, in modern history.
By the year 1811, for the island of New Providence only, there were 565 free blacks and some 509 free coloureds compared to 1,720 whites and 3,190 black and coloured slaves.
As free blacks, there would have been little or no legal obstacles to being allowed to learn to read and write. Of these educated free blacks, it is entirely possible that there were one or two who aspired to a professional education level, in the very midst of brutal slavery.
(The Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland) Monday, 08 July, 1816)
In the 1822 Bahama Islands Slave Register, we find an intriguing entry for one free black man, a slave owner by the name of Thomas Minus.
Thomas Minus had six slaves. Of the six slaves, there were twin boys, named oddly enough, Cain and Able.
SLAVES OF FREE BLACK MAN THOMAS MINUS – Slave Register 1822
Number 1: Jenny. Female. 46 years old. Black. New Providence. African
Number 2: Patty. Female. 17 years old. Black. New Providence. Creole.
Number 3: Dunkin. Male. 19 years old. Abaco. Creole.
Number 4: Sally. Female. 16 years old. New Providence. Creole.
Number 5: Cain. Male. 8 years old. New Providence. Creole.
Number 6: Able Male. 8 years old. New Providence. Creole.
FREE BLACK MAN AND ATTORNEY HENRY FORBES
Thomas Minus, free black man, nominated another man named Henry Forbes, a free black man, to register his slaves.
Henry Forbes is recorded as Attorney for Thomas Minus.
It was Henry Forbes acting as Attorney for Thomas Minus, who registered the six slaves.