Appealing for Liberty

Freedom Suits in the South
 
 
Oxford University Press
  • erschienen am 3. September 2018
  • |
  • 472 Seiten
 
E-Book | PDF mit Adobe DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-19-066429-9 (ISBN)
 
Dred Scott and his landmark Supreme Court case are ingrained in the national memory, but he was just one of multitudes who appealed for their freedom in courtrooms across the country. Appealing for Liberty is the most comprehensive study to give voice to these African Americans, drawing from more than 2,000 suits and from the testimony of more than 4,000 plaintiffs from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War. Through the petitions, evidence, and testimony introduced in these court proceedings, the lives of the enslaved come sharply and poignantly into focus, as do many other aspects of southern society such as the efforts to preserve and re-unite black families. This book depicts in graphic terms, the pain, suffering, fears, and trepidations of the plaintiffs while discussing the legal systemlawyers, judges, juries, and testimonythat made judgments on their "causes," as the suits were often called. Arguments for freedom were diverse: slaves brought suits claiming they had been freed in wills and deeds, were born of free mothers, were descendants of free white women or Indian women; they charged that they were illegally imported to some states or were residents of the free states and territories. Those who testified on their behalf, usually against leaders of their communities, were generally white. So too were the lawyers who took these cases, many of them men of prominence, such as Francis Scott Key. More often than not, these men were slave owners themselves-- complicating our understanding of race relations in the antebellum period. A majority of the cases examined here were not appealed, nor did they create important judicial precedent. Indeed, most of the cases ended at the county, circuit, or district court level of various southern states. Yet the narratives of both those who gained their freedom and those who failed to do so, and the issues their suits raised, shed a bold and timely light on the history of race and liberty in the "land of the free."
  • Englisch
  • Oxford
  • |
  • USA
14 illus.
  • 39,97 MB
978-0-19-066429-9 (9780190664299)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Loren Schweninger is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where he taught for forty years. He was Director of the Race and Slavery Petitions Project from 1991-2009, creating the Digital Library on American Slavery during his tenure, and is the author of numerous books, including the Lincoln-Prize winning Runaway Slaves: Rebels in the Plantations (2010), co-authored with John Hope Franklin.
Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1: African American Women and the Genealogy of Slavery Chapter 2: Slave Plaintiffs and the Law Chapter 3: Slave Plaintiffs and the Courts Chapter 4: Manumission by Wills and Deeds Chapter 5: Term Slaves Chapter 6: Descendants of Free Women Chapter 7: The Question of Residency Chapter 8: A Journey toward Freedom Chapter 9: Runaways Chapter 10: Husbands and Wives Chapter 11: Mothers and Children Chapter 12: Lawyers and Their Slave Clients Chapter 13: The Vass Slaves of Virginia, 1831-1860 Conclusion Appendix: A Brief Profile of Freedom Suits and Results Abbreviations and Note on Sources Notes Selected Bibliography

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