African Americans before the New Jersey Supreme Court, 1704-1840
February 21 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Please join the New Jersey State Library in celebrating African American History Month by exploring the structure and jurisdiction of New Jersey Supreme Court, focusing on how it factored in the standing of African Americans before the court. Vivian Thiele, Archivist and Database Developer at the New Jersey State Archives, will present selected civil and criminal cases as examples of how enslaved and free blacks appeared before the court. Particular attention will be paid to pleadings which are of special interest in the history of enslavement: namely, Habeas Corpus, Replevin, False Imprisonment and Detinue, which were routinely used by the enslaved, abolitionists, and slave owners to argue matters of freedom. Further discussion will offer advice on how to interpret the role of African Americans before the court over time, where to look for additional information, and how court records can be used to enhance and expand research into the lives of African Americans in Colonial and Early States history.