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Additional info for Archibald Grimké: portrait of a Black independent
Page 8 (along with the pigeon) was restored before any further damage was done. 17 Nancy had high hopes for her sons and encouraged them to develop ties not only with the Charleston free black community to which she was related but, as much as possible, with the elite portion of that very class- and color-conscious community. Coming Street, where they lived, was something of a center of free black life in Charleston; some of the city's most prominent families lived there, and Archie made most of his friends from among the children of free people on Coming and elsewhere in the city.
The lack of conditions is less striking than the singling out of Nancy and her children; nothing else in Henry's "property" received special notice. 13 That Eliza had some sense of the commitment her brother had made is indicated by her actions after the family became her responsibility. Whether she knew how close the relationship between Henry and Nancy had been is hard to say. Certainly, everyone knew that Nancy had worked diligently for Henry and, before, for Selina and her children. And, of course, there was the evidence of her two, and then three, mixed babies of whom Henry's fatherhood could not have been difficult to conjecture.
Montague Grimké Papers. 8 Archibald Grimké, "Memoirs," 1. Page 5 well with what seem to have been Nancy's efforts, almost from the beginning, to live as independently as possible, though legally enslaved. The plan was credible. There were many such quasi-free slaves in Charleston during the late 1840s and early 1850s, who, though legally slaves, lived essentially free lives. This was particularly so because, since 1820, South Carolina law had been intended to make manumission impossible. Such was the status Henry proposed for his mulatto family, and Nancy had no reason to doubt him.