What factors were important in determining whether emancipated slaves left the plantation or stayed?    

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There were many factors that could play into this decision.  Among them were:

  • Whether an ex-slave had family he or she wanted to find.  Many slaves had been separated from family members and wanted to be reunited with them once emancipation came.
  • Whether the slave had any other prospects.  A slave who had some other opportunity to support him or herself might well have left.  However, a slave who had no other means of support would be much more likely to stay.
  • What the slaveowner was like.  Slaves who had harsh owners or who simply did not get along with their owners would have been much more likely to leave than other slaves.
  • Personality.  Slaves who were more adventurous and daring would have been more likely to leave than slaves who had more conservative natures.
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