FREE LECTURE: 19th-Century Delaware Law for African Americans

December 8, 2018 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
London Grove Friends Meeting
500 W Street Rd
Kennett Square, PA 19348
KURC Marketing

A free lecture, part of KURC's series titled "Enslaved, Freedom Seeking, and Free: 19th-Century African American Life in the Mid-Atlantic Region"

A lecture given by Professor Robin Krawitz, of Delaware State University

After conviction in a Delaware court for “Assisting Fugitives to Escape from their Masters,” Samuel D. Burris, an African American Underground Railroad conductor, wrote a letter later published in The Liberator. In it he spoke about the fate that he feared awaited him: being sold out of state and into slavery. Conviction under the law in Delaware seemed equitable for both races, but in reality it was not. In pre–Civil War Delaware, a person convicted for a crime could be sold at auction to serve a period of years to cover court costs if they could not be paid otherwise. But for free people of color the stakes were much higher. Sale risked enslavement. In 1837, a law was passed in Delaware making it a crime to assist “fugitives from labor.”  This talk will focus on the fates of the individuals prosecuted and convicted under this law from 1837 to 1865.

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