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Cyrus Bustill Historical Marker
210 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106-4512 GET DIRECTIONS
Cyrus Bustill, a mulatto who was born into bondage and later purchased his freedom, represented the principles for which the American Revolution was fought. As a free black man, he was caught in a precarious position between slavery and freedom. While Bustill shared some of the rights and privileges of other free men, he also confronted special legal, economic, and social restrictions. The legal principle that color was sufficient grounds for presuming slave status made free blacks vulnerable to kidnapping and sale back into slavery. Even if they managed to escape the ruthlessness of the slave catcher, free blacks such as Bustill still faced discrimination as well as competition from slave, indentured, and free white labor. This historical marker reads, "Born of white, Black and Native American descent, he bought his freedom and became a baker of bread for Revolutionary troops. A founder of the Free African Society, he later opened a school for Black children while living here."
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