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Free, white and twenty-one

Posted by Lewis on April 19, 2007

In Reply to: Free, white and twenty-one posted by RRC on April 16, 2007

: : : : : Ok ya'll. I googled this and find no reference. Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "free, white and twenty-one?" I think it's Southern US derivation.

: : : : perhaps it is the opposite of "young gifted and black"?

: : : : L

: : : I am not 100% on this but I think it is from a Hollywood film, either "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang" or "Gone With The Wind".

: : It's an old saying. I don't know the origin though.

: I believe it is based on a frequently used qualification used in old legal documents. Back in the "old" days (1700's at least), many rights were granted to free white men above the age of twenty-one years by many documents.

I suppose it makes some kind of sense - 21 is the age of full majority, men were distinguished from women and I suppose that the vote was with free whites only. of course, in civilised countries, those kind of criteria would have been squashed 200 years ago.

as if a country in which women only got the vote less than a century ago can be that condescending...


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