Prior to the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1866, all non-slave people of African heritage were required by law to be registered and head-taxed each year by the county courts enforceable by the sheriffs who were empowered to re-incarcerate those not in compliance with the law, ... and auction them off as indentured servants to pay the cost of courts and their fines.
Most free Negroes in Virginia, like the Hemings and Lees, were compelled to emigrate to Ohio, Maryland, or other states like Pennsylvania, ... or onwards to Canada and newly established Republic of Liberia. Such was the challenge facing newly freed slaves like Reverend Lott Carey in Richmond. After buying his own freedom, sometime before 1824, from a man he helped convert to Messianic Christianity, ... he worked another year for money to buy his wife and children. He then received an offer from white Christians in Richmond not likely to be refused.
For them and him, a ministry in Liberia by the American Colonization Society was made to order. The harsh reality is that slave breeding and trading was the largest and most profitable industry in Virginia (over 200,000 slave sales per year by 1850); and, any free Negro anywhere was subject to being kidnapped or arrested by some infraction of law alleged by the local sheriff, ... and sold down river like any other slave as occurred with the son of Sojourner Truth.
Freedom was not free, neither for mother or child!