25 January 2017

Virginia Reenslavement Petitions – A Little Known Bit of History


Virginia Reenslavement Petitions – A Little Known Bit of History

So many records, so little time!

Out of the Box, Notes from the Archives @ The Library of Virginia had a recent blog post, A Last Resort: Madison County Reenslavement Petitions.  Though there are many facets of law regarding those enslaved that I am familiar with, I wasn’t familiar with this one.

In 1856, the General Assembly decided that free African Americans could petition their county or city court to be enslaved. These individuals had to be at least twenty-one if male or eighteen if female and they could choose their own master. Once the General Assembly accepted the petition, the only difference between someone who was born a slave and someone who was enslaved as an adult was that the children of a woman born while she was free remained free.

The mentioned article gives you the details on “why” someone might seek to be re-enslaved and provides a case study illustrating the need/interest for one family who in 1859 petitioned for reenslavement.

I did a search in Virginia Heritage and found that there are 9 entries where we find the term reenslavement (Madison, Northumberland, Powhatan, and Norfolk Counties amongst others are mentioned).

A book written by Ted Maris-Wolf, Family Bonds – Free Blacks and Re-enslavement Law in Antebellum Virginia (available for purchase) covers this topic further.


I have yet to come across a similar law in North Carolina nor in other southern states, have you?

What law(s) have you come across that you were unprepared for?







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Unless indicated otherwise or clearly an NGS Public Relations piece, Upfront with NGS posts are written by Diane L Richard, editor, Upfront with NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow NGS via Facebook, Flipboard, Google+, Twitter, YouTube