The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History

By Stephen Middleton | Go to book overview

Preface

It has been more than a century since the emancipation of African Americans from slavery and a few decades since the civil rights revolution in the United States. However, at the publication of this volume, sporadic episodes of violence between black and white Americans are far too common. Misunderstanding between these Americans covers everything from affirmative action to public education. Hostilities between these races are not always expressed violently. According to newspaper accounts, the exclusion of black children from "private" swimming pools and the exclusion of blacks from neighborhood country clubs (even when they live in the community where the club is located) is far too common. Why has racial discrimination persisted in the United States so long after emancipation? I don't know. Compiling documents for this book makes it clear that a "free zone" does not mean the absence of racial prejudice.

The Northwest Territory, under the Ordinance of 1787, was such a free jurisdiction. The ordinance's sixth article declared slavery illegal, and presumably, entitled African Americans to citizenship status. In no way did the ordinance subjugate blacks already living in the Old Northwest. Yet clever white residents found ingenious ways to violate America's first antislavery and civil rights document.

When states formed in the Northwest Territory adopted "black laws," they too abridged the legal rights of black people. This is the subject of this volume, and it is a reminder to Americans of all races that the United States inherited a racial policy that still haunts our country. It is ironic that this racist creed also arose in the Old Northwest, a region supposedly dedicated to "freedom."

-xv-

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The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Ordinance of 1787, Article 6 xix
  • Introduction xxi
  • Notes xxvii
  • Part One- OHIO, March 1, 1803 1
  • I- Declaration of Rights 9
  • II- Enumeration and Election 11
  • III- Militia Policy 13
  • V- Colonization 19
  • VI- Kidnapping Law 25
  • VII- Public Education 33
  • VIII- Jury Law 47
  • IX- Reports- The Black Laws 49
  • X- Runaway Slaves 111
  • XI- Relief for the Poor 131
  • XII- Miscegenation of the Races 135
  • XIII- Civil Rights 137
  • Summary of Cases 143
  • Select Annotated Cases 147
  • Suggested Readings 155
  • Part Two- INDIANA, December 11, 1816 157
  • I- Declaration of Rights 163
  • II- Slavery 167
  • III- Indentured Servants and Laborers 185
  • IV- Suffrage and Election 195
  • V - Militia Policy 197
  • VI - Immigration and Residency 199
  • VII- Miscegenation Laws 207
  • VIII- Taxation and Enumeration 213
  • IX- Colonization 217
  • X- Kidnapping 227
  • XI- Fugitive Slaves 241
  • XII- Testimony and Witness 245
  • XIII- Public Education 251
  • XIV- Civil and Legal Rights 255
  • Summary of Cases 259
  • Select Annotated Cases 261
  • Suggested Readings 267
  • Part Three - ILLINOIS, December 3, 1818 269
  • Notes 274
  • I - Declaration of Rights 275
  • II- Militia Policy 279
  • III- Suffrage and Elections 281
  • IV- Servants and Slaves 285
  • V- Immigration and Residency 291
  • VI- Kidnapping 309
  • VII- Testimony and Witness 315
  • VIII- Runaway Slaves and Servants 319
  • X- Civil and Legal Rights 329
  • Summary of Cases 334
  • Select Annotated Cases 335
  • Suggested Readings 341
  • Part Four- MICHIGAN, January 26, 1837 343
  • I- Declaration of Rights 349
  • II - Kidnapping 353
  • III - The Slavery Controversy 359
  • IV- The Militia 363
  • V- Public Education 365
  • VI- Miscegenation of the Races 367
  • VII- Civil and Legal Rights 369
  • Summary of Cases 373
  • Select Annotated Cases 375
  • Suggested Readings 377
  • Part Five- WISCONSIN, May 29, 1848 379
  • Note 383
  • I- Declaration of Rights 385
  • II- Suffrage and Elections 387
  • III- Runaway Slaves 391
  • IV- Personal Liberty and Legal Rights 403
  • Summary of Cases 415
  • Select Annotated Cases 417
  • Suggested Readings 419
  • Index 421
  • About the Author 429
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