A badge marked FREE.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1785, North Carolina General Assembly.
At a General Assembly, begun and held at New Bern on the nineteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, and in the tenth year of the independence of the said State, it being the first session of this Assembly. Richard Caswell, Governor.
CHAPTER VI. An Additional Act to Amend the Several Acts for Regulating the Town of Wilmington, and to Regulate and Restrain the Conduct of Slaves and Others in the Said Town, and in the Towns of Washington, Edenton and Fayetteville.
And in order to discriminate between free negroes, mulattoes and other persons of mixed blood, and slaves:
X. Be it Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons of the above mentioned description, who are or shall be free, shall on or before the said first day of May next, apply to the commissioners, trustees or directors of the respective towns aforesaid, in order to have their names registered; and every such person coming into the said towns respectively to reside, shall within three days after their arrival make the like application; and the commissioners, trustees or directors are hereby authorised and required to give every such free person a badge of cloth, of such colour or colours as they shall respectively direct, to be fixed on the left shoulder, and to have thereon wrought in legible capital letters the word FREE: For registration of each of which names the town clerk shall receive two shillings, and the commissioners, trustees and directors respectively shall receive the sum of eight shillings for the use of their respective towns; which registration and badge shall continue in force during the time that such free person shall remain an inhabitant of the town in which he or she shall reside; and if any free negro, mullatto or other person of mixed blood, shall neglect or refuse to apply to the commissioners, trustees or directors as aforesaid, or shall refuse to receive a badge in manner by this Act directed, every such person so neglecting or refusing shall be subject to pay the same tax that is hereby imposed on slaves who are not returned as town taxables, and who shall have badges to enable them to hire themselves; and that such free persons may be the better known, the justices of the peace who shall receive the returns of taxable property in said towns, shall in their yearly returns describe all such persons as are free, and are negroes, mullattoes or otherwise of mixed blood as aforesaid; and all such persons as aforesaid not paying their fines, fees and taxes shall be hired out for so long time as will pay the same respectively.