What can legal documents reveal about about daily life and social structures throughout history? This project, a collaboration between scholars at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Indiana University, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, centers on court records from Washington, D.C. between 1800 and 1862. Court cases were pulled from the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Maryland state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The primary focus of this collection are petitions for freedom by enslaved African-Americans, which visitors can explore in detail via the Cases section of this website. In addition, this project includes records from civil, criminal, and chancery cases. New visitors may want to start by exploring the Stories, which offer essays that contextualize the legal documents and legal structures that shaped the realities of slavery during this time. From here, researchers, can search for individual cases by attorney, plaintiff, or defendant in the People section and learn about the families that were especially central to these cases. Collectively, this project provides insight into law, slavery, and the everyday life of both free and enslaved blacks in early Washington, D.C.
Digital File Characteristics
Source of Description
Title from pdf file title page (viewed, 30 May 2019).