Free People of Color Cluster

The Free People of Color Cluster is composed of UC Davis students, faculty, and staff from different colleges and schools interested in the social and legal treatment of free people of color in the United States during and after the period of legalized slavery.  Before emancipation, while many non-whites were enslaved, many were not. After emancipation, none were in the formal legal sense enslaved but all non-white groups, in ways both analogous and very different, experienced restrictions and limitations on their freedom.

Supported by a generous grant from the Davis Humanities Institute in 2020-21, the Cluster put on a speaker series of distinguished scholars, mostly from outside the University, discussing various aspects of their research on the experiences of free people of color.

In 2021-22, again supported by the Davis Humanities Institute, the Cluster will host academics  who have researched their own institutions’ histories of discrimination. In addition, graduate fellows working with Cluster faculty will begin to explore the history of discrimination, if any, at our own University.

The Cluster is sponsored by the Department of History, the School of Law, and its Aoki Center for Race and Nation Studies.

Cluster faculty and staff are:

Gabriel J. Chin, Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor, and Director of Clinical Legal Education 

Gregory Downs, Professor of History

Mary Louise Frampton, Emerita Professor of Law

Nina-Marie Bell, Staff