The Brown Fellowship Society seemed like a good way, at the time, for some of our ancestors to protect themselves. In many Southern states, some people were being freed – but it was a messed up, racist process.
Those of mixed race, with light skin, were freed first! On top of that, though, they were excluded from interacting with white society. This forced them to do something awful – to themselves and other Black people – in order to survive.
They formed the Brown Fellowship Society in 1790 to provide for their community’s basic needs, such as housing, food, and funeral expenses. To protect themselves from white violence and hatred, they refused to allow anyone but other light-skinned people to join! But it gets worse.
Though this society was meant to protect members against white hatred and attacks, the members were still treated as second-class citizens – they were separated from whites AND their dark-skinned brethren. Racism evolved right along with emancipation from enslavement.
Colorism is a tool used to divide and oppress our people. We must realize that, regardless of our skin tone, we are all Black and we NEED each other to build a strong community. We must not fall for the divide and conquer tactics of white supremacy!