Although historians have long noted that African-Americans of mixed-race in the antebellum Lower South were given economic and social preference over those with darker skin, they have denied that people of mixed race received special treatment in the antebellum Upper South as well. Examination of data on the registrations of free African-Americans in antebellum Virginia, however, reveals that adolescents and adults with lighter complexions tended to have a height advantage, which suggests that they enjoyed better nutrition.

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