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date: 02 April 2020

Slew, Jenny locked

(1719–?),
  • Sara Kakazu

Extract

slave who sued for freedom, was born to a white mother and a father of African descent, most likely a slave. Slew lived as a free woman until 1762, marrying several times. At the age of forty-three she was forcefully kidnapped from her Massachusetts home and enslaved by John Whipple Jr.

Three years after her capture Slew filed a civil suit, Jenny Slew, Spinster, versus John Whipple, Jr., Gentleman against her would be master asserting through her counsel that as a child s legal status follows that of the mother she was like her white mother a free woman Though at the time most colonies denied slaves legal protection Massachusetts allowed an enslaved individual though still recognized as property to bring a civil suit As one of the first slaves to sue for freedom Slew faced a panel of judges who had no precedent to follow She accidentally ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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