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Rita Porter, Director of Adult Services Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources Molly Portera, Director of Suicide Prevention and Outreach Mississippi Department of Mental Health Marshall Ramsey, editorial cartoonist and author Clarion-Ledger Dr.Thomas Recore, Forensic Psychiatrist Mississippi Department of Mental Health Dr.In the 1850s, the decade immediately preceding the Civil War, Mississippis free black community shrank until only 773 remained in the months before secession.
When the court was provided satisfactory proof, the applicants received certificates of free status, or freedom papers, as the certificates became commonly known.
Prior to 1825, it was common and legal for slaves to become free either by purchasing their freedom or by slaveholders freeing them.
Beginning in the mid-1820s, both forms of emancipation became increasingly less common and even illegal.
The primary pathways to free status for blacks were blocked.
In the decades after the 1820s, the legal avenues to freedom and emancipation were limited only to children born to free mothers and parents and to those approved by the Mississippi legislature through petitions for emancipation.