The Black Laws: Race and the Legal Process in Early Ohio

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Ohio University Press, 2005 - 363 Seiten
Beginning in 1803, and continuing for several decades, the Ohio legislature enacted what came to be known as the Black Laws. These laws instituted barriers to blacks entering the state and placed limits on black testimony against whites. Stephen Middleton tells the story of this racial oppression in Ohio and provides chilling episodes of how blacks asserted their freedom from the enactment of the Black Laws until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The fastest-growing state in antebellum America and the destination of whites from the north and the south, Ohio also became the destination for thousands of southern blacks, free and fugitive. Thus, nineteenth-century Ohio became a legal battleground for two powerful and far-reaching impulses in the history of race and law in America. One was the use of state power to further racial discrimination and the other was the thirst of African Americans, and their white allies, for equality under the law for all Americans. The state could never stop the steady stream of blacks crossing the Ohio River to freedom. In time, black and white leaders arose to challenge the laws and by 1849 the firewall built to separate the races began to collapse. The last vestiges of Ohio's Black Laws were repealed in a bill written by a black legislator in 1886. Written in a clear and compelling style, this path-breaking study of Ohio's early racial experience will be required reading for a broad audience of historians, legal scholars, students, and those interested in the struggle for civil rights in America.Stephen Middleton is a member of the history department at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Ohio and the Antislavery Activities of Salmon P. Chase, The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History, and Black Congressmen During Reconstruction: A Documentary Sourcebook.

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Inhalt

1 Ambiguous Beginnings 17871801
7
2 The Many Meanings of Freedom 18001803
18
3 A State for White Men 18031830
42
4 The Battle over the Color Line 18301839
74
5 The Struggle to Abolish the Color Line 18401849
115
6 Enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act 18031850
157
7 The Fugitive Slave Crisis in the 1850s
201
8 The Limits of Freedom
241
notes
263
selected bibliography
327
Index
357
Urheberrecht

Andere Ausgaben - Alle anzeigen

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Beliebte Passagen

Seite 1 - A statute of this state enacts, " that no black or mulatto person or persons shall hereafter be permitted to be sworn, or give evidence in any court of record or elsewhere, in this state, in any cause depending, or matter of controversy, when either party to the same is a WHITE person ; or in any prosecution of the state against any WHITE person.

Über den Autor (2005)

Beginning in 1803, the Ohio legislature enacted what came to be known as the Black Laws. These laws instituted barriers against blacks entering the state and placed limits on black testimony against whites. Basing his narrative on massive primary research, often utilizing previously unexplored sources, Stephen Middleton tells the story of racial oppression in Ohio and recounts chilling episodes of how blacks asserted their freedom by challenging the restrictions in the racial codes until the state legislature repealed some pernicious features in 1849 and finally abolished them in 1886.

The fastest-growing state in antebellum America and the destination of whites from the North and the South, Ohio also became the destination for thousands of southern blacks, both free and runaway. Thus, nineteenth-century Ohio became a legal battleground for two powerful and far-reaching impulses in the history of race and law in America. One was the use of state power to further racial discrimination, and the other was the thirst of African Americans and their white allies for equality under the law for all Americans.

Written in a clear and compelling style, this pathbreaking study will be required reading for historians, legal scholars, students, and those interested in the struggle for civil rights in America.

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