Claiming Freedom: Triumphs and Travails of Emancipation Lawsuits
This discussion will examine the efforts of enslaved and formerly enslaved persons of African descent to secure their freedom and legal rights through the court system. The discussion will focus on notable efforts such as Sojourner Truth’s successful New York State lawsuit in 1828, to free her son, Peter, who had been illegally sold in Alabama. This litigation made Truth the first Black woman to successfully sue a White man for a family member’s freedom. The discussion will focus on the triumphs and challenges of seeking freedom and other legal rights through the court system during Antebellum and Postbellum periods. Examination of these cases will help to understand relationships between past and present demands for liberation and equality as multifaceted and constant struggle, which can lead toward a free and informed future.
Paula C. Johnson, Esq., Syracuse University College of Law
Planning Co-Chair: Norina A. Melita, Esq., Montgomery County Courthouse
- June 16, 2022
- Online On-Demand