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On the evening of 8 December 1811 thirty one year old Charles Deslondes led a group of slaves along the Louisiana coast in what would become the largest protracted slave uprising in American history Also known as the German Coast Uprising the rebel force burned plantations and freed other slaves as it marched toward New Orleans In January 1812 Deslondes s soldiers battled a militia led by General Wade Hampton 1752 1835 at Francois Bernard Bernoudi s plantation which is briefly summarized in the newspaper article below After two days of fighting which included cavalry and pikes the militia defeated the slaves and captured Deslondes A tribunal held soon thereafter sentenced Deslondes and over a dozen other leaders of the revolt to death The bodies were dismembered and Deslondes s head was placed on a pike as a warning against future uprisings In the context of the Haitian Revolution and ...


Kathy Chater

Most work done on Black people and the law in the 18th century concentrates on the handful of cases in which the question of the legality of slavery in England and Wales was brought to court, most notably the Somerset case which led to the landmark Mansfield judgment Black ...


William H. Brown and Graham Russell Hodges

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with law as specifically applied to African Americans from the seventeenth century through the nineteenth century The first article discusses the development of crimes and punishments related to slavery through 1830 while the second article discusses law and legal penalties as applied to ...


Annell Smith

As with other aspects of British society, black people have had a long and sometimes difficult and contentious relationship with the criminal justice system.

1.Historical background

2.The Empire Windrush and after


Otis H. Stephens

The idea that all persons are equal before the law is a central tenet of American constitutional democracy. Traceable to the classical writings of Aristotle and social contract theorists such as John Locke the equality principle is embodied in the Declaration of Independence and is implicit in a number of provisions of the United States Constitution This fundamental principle is stated explicitly in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment which provides among other things that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws In essence the Equal Protection Clause requires that the government accord similar treatment to people who are similarly situated This provision applies only to state and local governments However the Supreme Court has concluded that the values underlying the equal protection guarantee are embraced within the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and are thus applicable also ...


Blake Wintory

photographer, politician, sheriff, assayer, barber, and lawyer, was born a slave in Carroll County, Kentucky. William Hines Furbush became a member of the Arkansas General Assembly as well as the first sheriff of Lee County, Arkansas. His Arkansas political career began in the Republican Party at the close of Reconstruction and ended in the Democratic Party just as political disfranchisement began.

Little is known about Furbush's early life, though his literacy suggests a formal childhood education. Around 1860 he operated a photography studio in Delaware, Ohio. In March 1862 he traveled to Union-controlled Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas, on Kate Adams and continued to work as a photographer. In Franklin County, Ohio, that December he married Susan Dickey. A few years later, in February 1865 he joined the Forty second Colored Infantry at Columbus Ohio He received an honorable discharge at the ...


John Herschel Barnhill

Hate speech is bigoted expression that abuses, insults, harasses, or intimidates a group or a member of a group based solely on membership in the group. Hate speech promotes discrimination and hatred and may cause killing or other violence. Laws against hate speech generally deal with protection of the individual victim. Some would have the laws broadened to protect groups. To the contrary, others contend, protection is restriction, and limits should be imposed with caution if at all, because the government should never impose restrictions on speech; the community should set what standard it requires. Limits are in place in Germany, France, and elsewhere. European restrictions include bans on Holocaust denial and incitements to race hatred. Anti-Semitism and advocacy of genocide are also banned subjects in Asia and the Americas.

The United States tends to maximize expression Consistently the U S Supreme Court has ruled that words and conduct even ...


David Childs

military corporal, town marshal, and gunslinger, was a Civil War soldier of the seventh Illinois Rifles. Little is known about his life in the three decades before the war. After the war ended, Kennard struggled to find employment and enlisted in the Ninth Cavalry, an entirely African American unit. His unit served in Fort Bliss, Texas, and then moved to the Arizona Territory at Fort Davis, where they fought against Apache Indians. He earned a reputation for having a talent with weaponry and became an arms instructor for nearly twenty-five years. In the summer of 1874 Kennard responded to an ad, in the Rocky Mountain News, for a town marshal in Yankee Hill, located in the Colorado Territory, for $100 per month. He travelled to the town and sought out the local leaders to inquire about the position.

He was directed to Yankee Hill s five city councilmen who ...


Patrick G. Williams

politician and lawyer, was born a slave on a plantation in Abbeville District, South Carolina. Of mixed race, he was probably the son of his owner, Samuel McGowan, and a slave woman, whose name is unknown. When McGowan entered Confederate service during the Civil War, Lee attended him in the camps and on the battlefield. Lee was wounded twice, at Second Manassas in 1862 and later near Hanover Junction, Virginia. After emancipation, he farmed in Abbeville District and then in Edgefield County, South Carolina, having settled in Hamburg. By 1870 Lee had accumulated at least $500 in real estate and $400 in personal property. Sometime before February 1872 he married a woman identified in legal documents as R. A. Lee; her maiden name is unknown.

Though not formally educated as a youth Lee had learned to read and evidently developed talents as a debater and orator fairly ...


Andrew E. Taslitz

Mob violence and vigilantism share a common trait: the use of violence to impose social control or to achieve popular justice. These forms of violence involve an appeal to shared notions of higher law when the law enacted by the state is seen as morally wrong, inadequate to the task, or nonexistent. Mobs are social groups having no decision-making structure and coming together for political or economic reasons. They often form spontaneously, generally last only a brief time, and are united by a sense of shared interests and purposes. Mobs can involve dominant groups subordinating less privileged groups, the less privileged protesting against their oppressors, or both groups united against a common perceived enemy. Vigilante groups generally last longer than mobs and take the law into their own hands in situations where the official legal institutions are seen as failing.

Throughout late eighteenth century America mob action spread in reaction ...


Larvester Gaither

“Racial profiling” is the term used to describe the practice of treating a person as a criminal suspect because of his or her ethnicity, race, nationality, or religion. The term is mostly applied to the practice of stopping a person for a traffic violation as a pretext for searching for contraband or other evidence of criminal behavior, but it also involves pedestrian stops, targeted surveillance in shopping malls and stores, gang databases, and discrimination at polling places, at airports, and in medical health care. Its usage extends into the various discussions of racialized behavior within government, media, policing, and other institutions of power within the United States and western Europe particularly.


Lois Baldwin Moreland

lawyer, was born in New York City, the daughter of Charlotte Augusta Burroughs, a native of Savannah, Georgia, and Charles Bennett Ray, a journalist, abolitionist, and minister of Indian, English, and African ancestry, who became editor of the Colored American, after Samuel Cornish. The Rays had seven children, two of whom died in adolescence. Charlotte was the youngest of the three surviving daughters, all of whom attended college like their brothers.

As a child, Charlotte attended the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1851 by the educator Myrtilla Miner, the private institution was one of the few schools that black girls could attend. By 1869 Ray was a-teacher at the Howard University Normal and Preparatory Department. In the evenings she studied law at Howard University, where she specialized in commercial law. As a senior, in February 1872 ...


David H. Jr. Jackson

attorney and politician, was born somewhere in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee in the eastern part of the state as his parents moved from North Carolina to Mississippi. His father, Josiah, a member of the popular Settle family of Rockingham, North Carolina, was a wealthy planter. He owned Nancy Graves, Josiah's mother. However, unlike many white men in his position, he became devoted to Nancy and their eight children. After living in Mississippi for a few years, Settle's father eventually manumitted Nancy and their children and moved them to Hamilton, Ohio, in March 1856, since Mississippi law forbade newly emancipated blacks from residing in the state. The family settled in Hamilton, and he eventually married Graves in 1858 after his Northern neighbors protested his common law relationship He spent the summers with his family in Ohio but lived in Mississippi the rest of the ...


Slavery was unknown in the British Isles when the first English colonists arrived in North America in the late 1500s. Moreover, the very idea of slavery was contrary to English law. Thus, although slavery could be found throughout the Spanish and Portuguese settlements of the Americas, the English did not adopt the institution immediately.


Paul Finkelman

Slavery flourished in most of the New World before 1600, but the British colonists were slow to adopt it, in part because slavery was unknown in seventeenth-century Britain and no legal structure was in place to protect this peculiar form of property. Initially, the landowning and elite English colonists relied on indentured servants for labor. The British treated the first Africans, who arrived on a Dutch ship in 1619, as indentured servants; some of the Africans gained their freedom, and there is no evidence of overt discrimination against blacks.

By the 1630s the legal system was singling out Africans for distinctly different treatment. In 1640 a Virginia court sentenced a black indentured servant who had run away to serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere No white runaway indentured servant in Virginia ever received such a sentence ...


Glenda E. Gilmore

congressman, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of an unknown white man and Lydia, a slave woman who worked as a house servant for the John McKee family in Beaufort. Descendants of Smalls believed that his father was John McKee, who died when Robert was young. The McKee family sent Robert to live with their relatives in Charleston, where he worked for wages that he turned over to his master. Smalls apparently taught himself the rudiments of reading and writing during this period. Later he attended school for three months, and as an adult he hired tutors. In 1856 Smalls married Hannah Jones, a slave who worked as a hotel maid. They had three children, one of whom died of smallpox. The couple lived apart from their owners, to whom they sent most of their income.In 1861 Smalls began working as a deckhand ...


David Schroeder

educator, minister, lawyer, and justice, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the first of two children born to George Gilchrist Stewart, a blacksmith, and Anna Morris Stewart, a dressmaker, both free blacks. Stewart attended, but did not graduate from, Avery Normal Institute in the late 1860s, and he entered Howard University in 1869. He matriculated at the integrated University of South Carolina as a junior in 1874, and he graduated in December of the following year with bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws degrees. Stewart married Charlotte “Lottie” Pearl Harris in 1876, and they had three children: McCants (1877), Gilchrist (1879), and Carlotta (1881).

Stewart began his career practicing law in Sumter, and he taught math at the State Agricultural and Mechanical School in Orangeburg during the 1877–1878 school year. South Carolina congressman Robert ...


Laura M. Calkins

lawyer and judge, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of John and Margaret Straker, of whom little is known. His father John Straker died when David was less than a year old, and his mother cared for him until he reached age seven, when she enrolled him in a private school. He entered the Central Public School in Bridgetown at age thirteen. Although he was also serving an apprenticeship as a tailor, Straker was deeply attracted to intellectual studies. With the support of Robert P. Elliott, principal of the Central Public School, Straker abandoned tailoring for full-time classical studies, including instruction in Latin and French under the tutelage of a linguist, the Reverend Joseph N. Durant. He also studied history and philosophy under R. R. Rawle principal of Codrington College an Anglican grammar school in Bridgetown which is now part of the University of ...


Cecily Jones

First brought into force in 1824 as the Vagrancy Act, this law was resuscitated during the 1970s, when it was widely used primarily as a means of policing black youth.


2.Enforcing the ‘Sus Law’: The Special Patrol Group


Eric Anderson

lawyer and member of Congress, was born in Bladen County, North Carolina, the son of Mary (maiden name unknown) and Wiley F. White. With one grandmother Irish and the other half American Indian, White jocularly described himself as no more than “mostly Negro.” Like most black boys in the antebellum South, he had little opportunity for education. A biographical sketch in the New York Tribune on 2 January 1898 put it in graphic understatement: “His early studies were much interrupted because of the necessity he was under to do manual labor on farms and in the forests, and it was not until he was seventeen years old that his serious education was actually begun.” After attending a combination of local schools, public and private, and saving one thousand dollars from farm work and cask making, White enrolled at Howard University.

White graduated in 1877 and returned to North ...