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Archive for March 10th, 2012

Thanks for following up on Cathay. Her life was so interesting! I enjoy your posts and always learn something.

Chief Writing Wolf

This has to be one of the most intriguing stories I’ve come across.  Cathay Williams was a Black woman born into slavery who served in the U.S. Army immediately after the end of the Civil War.  She disguised herself as a man and used the name William Cathay.  There isn’t a great deal of information about her, but apparently Williams was born in Independence, Missouri in September 1842.  Her father was a “free man of color,” but her mother was a slave; thus, Williams also was considered a slave.  “Free people of color” was a term used to describe individuals who were of African or Negro descent in the Old South, but did not live as slaves.  Many of them were actually mixed Negro and Caucasian, known as “mulattoes.”  “Free people of color” was used primarily in New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory where a number of mulattoes…

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