Interracial Marriage in a Southern Area: Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Virginia on 2019-04-08 17:13Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage in a Southern Area: Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Journal of Comparative Family Studies
Volume 8, Number 2, ETHNIC FAMILIES: STRUCTURE AND INTERACTION (SUMMER 1977)
pages 217-241

Thomas P. Monahan, Professor of Sociology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Representing the Southern tradition, Virginia and Maryland in Colonial times enacted strong laws against racial intermarriage, which continued in force until 1967. For over 100 years the District of Columbia, located between Virginia and Maryland at the North-South borderline, allowed the races to marry without legal restriction. Strong social restraints, nevertheless, existed. How frequently mixed marriages occurred in the District in the past, and in all three jurisdictions after 1967, when such marriages could legally take place anywhere in the United States, is a matter of special interest. What change has there been in the extent and nature of interracial marriage in this geographical area?1

The Legal Control of Intermarriage

Shortly after the settlement of the English colonies in America, public opinion became antagonistic toward the interbreeding of whites with Negroes, mulattoes, or Indians, and laws were passed to control biological blending and intermarriage of the races (Ballagh, 1902; Johnson, 1919, Guild, 1936; Reuter, 1931:75; Scott, 1930; Wilson, 1965:20; Jordan, 1968:139).

Virginia

Ten years after the importation of a small number of Negro slaves into the colony, the Virginia Assembly in 1630 ordered the sound whipping of one Hugh Davis for lying with a Negress, a heathen (Hening, 1809:1-146; Hurd, 1858:1-229), and in 1640 a Robert Sweet was ordered by the Governor and Council to do penance in church for impregnating a Negro woman, who was to be whipped…

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People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-26 01:58Z by Steven

People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Journal of Social History
Volume 52, Number 3, Spring 2019
pages 593-618
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shx113

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This article examines the origins of mixed-race ideologies and people of mixed African, European, and Native American ancestry—commonly identified as mulattoes—in the seventeenth-century English colonial Chesapeake and wider Atlantic world. Arguably, for the better part of the century, English colonial societies in the Chesapeake resembled Latin America and other Atlantic island colonies in allowing a relatively flexible social hierarchy, in which certain mixed-heritage people benefitted from their European lineage. Chesapeake authorities began to slowly set their provinces apart from their English colonial counterparts in the 1660s, when they enacted laws to deter intimate intermixture between Europeans and other ethnoracial groups and set policies that punished mixed-heritage children. Colonial officials attempted to use the legal system to restrict people of mixed ancestry, Africans, and Native Americans in bondage. These efforts supported the ideology of hypodescent, where children of mixed lineage are relegated more closely to the position of their socially inferior parentage. However, from the 1660s through the 1680s, these laws were unevenly enforced, and mixture increased with the growth of African slaves imported into the region. While many mulattoes were enslaved during this period, others were able to rely on their European heritage or racial whiteness. This allowed them to gain or maintain freedom for themselves and their families, before Virginia and Maryland institutionalized greater restrictions in the 1690s.

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Overflow Crowd Attends Slover Lecture On Jefferson’s Black Daughter

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2019-02-25 02:39Z by Steven

Overflow Crowd Attends Slover Lecture On Jefferson’s Black Daughter

The New Journal & Guide
Norfolk, Virginia
2019-02-03

Overflow Crowd Attends Slover Lecture On Jefferson’s Black Daughter

An overflow crowd was on hand Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Slover Library in downtown Norfolk to hear Dr. Catherine Kerrison discuss her latest book, “Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in A Young America.” Kerrison is an associate professor of history at Villanova University, where she teaches courses in colonial and revolutionary America and women’s and gender history.

The event was the second of three lectures in the Catherine Lee Brinkley Memorial Lecture Series being offered by the Slover Library to “keep the spirit of community discourse about current events alive and to celebrate recently published books of national note.” It is being sponsored by Jane Batten, who was in attendance, as was former Mayor Paul Fraim, who heads the Slover Library Foundation.

Kerrison’s expert re-search and writing on Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president of the United States, may have added to the crowd’s interest. Certainly, the sexual liaison between Jefferson and his enslaved companion Sally Hemings has been a topic of discussion and controversy since the relationship was disclosed several years ago…

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Thomas Jefferson’s descendants unite over a troubled past

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2019-02-19 15:00Z by Steven

Thomas Jefferson’s descendants unite over a troubled past

CBS This Morning
CBS News
2019-02-14

At the expansive Monticello Estate in Virginia, there sits a simple room with white walls, brick floors and a single silhouette that represents the life of Sally Hemings, one of Thomas Jefferson’s more than 600 slaves.

Presidential estates have long struggled with how to present the founding era exceptionalism along with the full history. The latest installation at Monticello, the Sally Hemming’s exhibit, gives the most personal look yet at a shameful chapter in American history. The exhibit takes a definitive stance on her relationship with Thomas Jefferson and the children they had together. A story once hidden now has the spotlight.

Lucian Truscott is Jefferson’s sixth-great-grandson. Shannon Lanier is also Jefferson’s sixth-great-grandson — but from Hemings’ side.

As a Jefferson descendant, Truscott said he was given run of Monticello, even jumping on his ancestor’s bed. Lanier’s story is a little different…

Watch the story here.

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Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-10 20:15Z by Steven

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

The Associated Press
2019-02-07

Jesse J. Holland

Lee McBee
FILE – In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestowne staff archaeologist Lee McBee, right, shows artifacts to Carla Howe, of Gilmanton, N.H., left, and her children Caroline, second from left, and Grace, third from left, at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. The first Africans to arrive in North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”…

…Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said…

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More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2019-01-19 05:12Z by Steven

More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

USA TODAY
2019-01-13

Chris Woodyard, Los Angeles Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESBarack Obama hasn’t been the president for nearly two years, but his fame is still spreading – at least when it comes to naming things after him.

The nation’s first African-American president need not go far around the country these days to find something that carries his name. There’s Barack Obama Way in New Albany Township, Indiana, and Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida. There’s a long list of schools now named for him, like Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.

Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug

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Partus sequitur ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2019-01-05 02:50Z by Steven

Partus sequitur ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 22, Number 1 (55) (2018-03-01)
pages 1-17
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-4378888

Jennifer L. Morgan, Professor Of Social And Cultural Analysis & History
New York University

Issue Cover

From the moment of its introduction into the Atlantic world, hereditary racial slavery depended on an understanding that enslaved women’s reproductive lives would be tethered to the institution of slavery. At the same time, few colonial slave codes explicitly defined the status of these children. This essay explores English slave codes regarding reproduction under slavery alongside the experience of reproduction to suggest that legislative silences are not the final word on race and reproduction. The presumption that their children would also be enslaved produced a visceral understanding of early modern racial formations for enslaved women. Using a seventeenth-century Virginia slave code as its anchor, this essay explores the explicit and implicit consequences of slaveowners’ efforts to control enslaved women’s reproductive lives.

Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman shall be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother—Partus Sequitur Ventrem. And that if any Christian shall commit fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act. —Laws of Virginia, 1662 Act XII; Latin added by William Henig, The Statutes at Large, 1819

Atlantic slavery rested upon a notion of heritability. It thus relied on a reproductive logic that was inseparable from the explanatory power of race. As a result, women and their experiences of enslavement shed critical light on what it meant to be enslaved or free in the early modern Atlantic world. Regardless of the rate of reproduction among the enslaved—which remained low in all early American slave societies—the ideological solidity of those slave societies needed reproducing women. Building a system of racial slavery on the notion of heritability did not require the presence of natural population growth among the enslaved, but it did require a clear understanding that enslaved women gave birth to enslaved children. Resituating heritability was key in the practice of an enslavement that systematically alienated the enslaved from their kin and their lineage. Enslaved people had to be understood as dispossessed, outside of the normal networks of family and community, to justify the practice of mass enslavement.

As this essay will argue, enslaved women’s maternal possibilities became a crucial vehicle by which racial meaning was concretized—and it did so long before legislators indexed such possibilities into law. Further, by centering the women whose reproductive lives were at issue, I argue that enslaved people best understood the theory and praxis of racial slavery. The violence done when economic structures supersede kinship, and when enslaveability displaces maternity, is longstanding. There are moments when recognition of that agony of dispossession becomes clear.1 So rather than an inquiry into legal history, here I argue that in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English Atlantic world, women navigated the dawning recognition that their reproductive lives would be the evidence of racialized dispossession. Enslaved mothers were enmeshed in the foundational metalanguages of early modern Atlantic ideas of slavery, freedom, and racial colonialism.2

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It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2019-01-05 01:31Z by Steven

It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States

The Los Angeles Times
2019-01-04

Evelia Jones

It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States
A man reads a plaque about Sally Hemings at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (Steve Ruark / Associated Press)

It is now widely understood that my ancestor Sally Hemings, an enslaved black woman, was the intimate companion of Thomas Jefferson for nearly four decades.

Monticello, the Virginia plantation operated as a museum by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, acknowledged as much with a new exhibit last year: Hemings’ living quarters. The exhibit presents as fact that Hemings gave birth to at least six of Jefferson’s children.

Much about their relationship remains lost to history. We know that Hemings was Jefferson’s property, and that in America she did not have the right to refuse sexual advances from her owner. We also know that Hemings was able to negotiate freedom for her children and “extraordinary privileges” for herself, and that she occupied a central place in Jefferson’s life…

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The Legacy of Monticello’s Black First Family

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2018-07-06 03:13Z by Steven

The Legacy of Monticello’s Black First Family

The New York Times
2018-07-04

Brent Staples
Photographs by Damon Winter


A view of Thomas Jefferson’s home from the main avenue where enslaved people were quartered at Monticello.

A recently opened exhibit at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia estate gives new recognition to Sally Hemings and the role of slavery in the home — and in his family.

Plantation wives in the slave-era South resorted to willful blindness when their husbands conscripted black women as sexual servants and filled the household with mixed-race children who inevitably resembled the master. Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha, was several years dead when he set off on this path, fathering at least six children with Martha’s enslaved black half sister, Sally Hemings. The task of dissembling fell to the remaining white Jeffersons, who aided in a cover-up that held sway for two centuries and feigned ignorance of a relationship between Jefferson and Hemings that lasted nearly four decades.

The foundation that owns Monticello, Jefferson’s mountaintop home near Charlottesville, Va., broke with this long-running deception last month when it unveiled several new exhibits that underscore the centrality of slavery on the founder’s estate. The most important — in the South Wing, where Sally Hemings once lived — explores the legacy of the enslaved woman whom some historians view as the president’s second wife and who skillfully prevailed on him to free from slavery the four Jefferson-Hemings children who lived into adulthood.

The exhibit underscores the fact that the Jefferson estate was an epicenter of racial mixing in early Virginia, making it impossible to draw clear lines between black and white. It reminds contemporary Americans that slave owners like the Jeffersons often held their own black children, aunts, uncles and cousins in bondage. And it illustrates how enslaved near-white relations used proximity to privilege to demystify whiteness while taking critical measure of the relatives who owned them…

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Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2018-02-22 05:03Z by Steven

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Ballantine Books
2018-01-30
448 pages
6.3 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1101886243
Paperback ISBN: 978-0525524380

Catherine Kerrison, Associate Professor of History
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

The remarkable untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters—two white and free, one black and enslaved—and the divergent paths they forged in a newly independent America

Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson’s Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women’s history, recounts the remarkable journey of these three women—and how their struggle to define themselves reflects both the possibilities and the limitations that resulted from the American Revolution.

Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris—a hothouse of intellectual ferment whose celebrated salonnières are vividly brought to life in Kerrison’s narrative. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America.

Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery—apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future.

For this groundbreaking triple biography, Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters when they were in their teens, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. She has interviewed Hemings family descendants (and, with their cooperation, initiated DNA testing) and searched for descendants of Harriet Hemings.

The eventful lives of Thomas Jefferson’s daughters provide a unique vantage point from which to examine the complicated patrimony of the American Revolution itself. The richly interwoven story of these three strong women and their fight to shape their own destinies sheds new light on the ongoing movement toward human rights in America—and on the personal and political legacy of one of our most controversial Founding Fathers.

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