Appealing for Liberty by Loren SchweningerDred 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 first study of its kind to give voice to these African Americans, drawing from more than two thousand suits and from the testimony of more than four thousand 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. This book depicts in graphic terms, the pain, suffering, fears, and trepidations of the plaintiffs while discussing the legal system--lawyers, judges, juries, and testimony--that 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 the 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."
Call Number: KF 482 .S39 2018 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2018-10-01
Dred Scott V. Sandford by Paul FinkelmanPerhaps no other Supreme Court decision has had the political impact of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Using a variety of documents that reflect regional opinions and political debates, Paul Finkelman examines the 1857 decision that helped set in motion the events that eventually led to a new birth of freedom and the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Call Number: KF 4545 .S5 F558 1997 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 1997-03-15
Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History** "Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery. Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights. In this "cinematic and deeply engaging" (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass's newspapers. "Absorbing and even moving...a brilliant book that speaks to our own time as well as Douglass's" (The Wall Street Journal), Blight's biography tells the fascinating story of Douglass's two marriages and his complex extended family. "David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass...a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century" (The Boston Globe). In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Frederick Douglass won the Bancroft, Parkman, Los Angeles Times (biography), Lincoln, Plutarch, and Christopher awards and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Time.
Call Number: E 449 .D75 B557 2018 - Belleville General Book Collection