St. Louis Circuit Court Case Of Lucy Ann Berry Mitchell

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In the five years between 1803 and 1808, South Carolina alone imported 400,000 slaves (Jones, 2004). These were so many slaves that pushed slavery to other regions like Louisiana and Georgia. The Northern States were reluctant in fighting slave trade as they were more concerned about the new government and feared to be in conflicts with the south. Most of the states thought that slavery was a passing cloud and that it was bound to fail sooner. The invention of the cotton gin made the cash crop all the more lucrative. This new technology led to the skyrocketing in the number of slaves. With the silent North and a silent Articles of Confederation on the issue of African Americans held as slaves, some of the slaves approached the courts for justice …show more content…

Lucy, being a minor was inexperienced in carrying out domestic tasks such as laundry, something that made Martha want to sell her. Martha’s husband, David Mitchell organized the sale. The day of her auction, Lucy escaped to her mother’s friend’s house. In St. Louis Circuit Court, Lucy’s mother attempted to get freedom for her minor daughter as next friend. Wash’s case had not been determined, and so she remained a slave, with no legal status. However, under the slave law, she was allowed to bring the suit on behalf of a minor. Statute accorded slaves as "poor persons" and so the court-appointed counsel for her. Lucy’s attorney advised that her case should not be joined with her mother, to make the slave owner appear as not losing much by losing one slave. Lucy was remanded for 17 months while waiting for her trial. This detainment was customary to offset expenses and earn money for her masters. Her case was heard in February 1844, when her mother’s case had already been decided and was declared free. Wash had affidavits from those who knew her, and she was able to prove that Lucy was her daughter. The Jury believed her, and Lucy was declared free. She was fourteen. (Gardner 2007). Later she and her mother Polly got certificates as free blacks and lived in St Louis as free people. Lucy then changed her names to Lucy …show more content…

A widespread of movements to end abolition in pre-civil war era ensued and the end of the now illegal Atlantic Slave Trade, as it was continued in Brazil and Cuba until the late 1850’s, even though the US ended it in 1807. The theory was, in the minds of western European countries, if there was still a market for African slaves in the Americas, trade would still continue (Hardt 2000). Many religious groups in parts of Europe and America determined slavery as unorthodox and inhumane. The Enlightenment during this time also made comments on slavery, determining slavery as a violation of basic human rights. The U.S. saw high levels of abolitionism the first half of the century, where in 1817, three thousand free blacks protested in Philadelphia to advocate for the agreement that white and blacks were deserving of the same rights. As per McNeese, (2008), radical abolitionism was enhanced by the religious group of the Second Awakening, who used religion to advocate for immediate freedom of slaves. Their ideas became very popular in the churches and the politics of the North, which fueled the regional tension between the North and the South. The abolitionists continued the push for the reedom of slaves intensified in the 1830s when it became a militant crusader. In 1831, William L. Garrison began publishing a newspaper in Boston, known as the “Liberator” with the aid of free

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