Virginia Untold: Freedom Suits

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Virginia Untold: Freedom Suits

Virginia Untold provides digital access to records that document some of the lived experiences of enslaved and free Black people in the Library of Virginia’s collections. Please help improve the discoverability of these sources by transcribing two of the project's many record types, bills of sale and deeds.

Freedom suits are lawsuits initiated by enslaved people seeking to gain their freedom. This collection includes petitions, records of suits, depositions, affidavits, and wills. They record enslaved peoples’ arguments for freedom, how the individual came to be enslaved, ancestry of the enslaved person, and relationships between enslaved individuals and enslavers. Enslaved men and women sued for emancipation in freedom suits based on the following: they were descendant(s) of a free woman, sometimes either a white or Native American woman; failure of enslaver(s) to abide by the 1778 slave nonimportation act; or claimed to have been freed by their enslaver(s) by deed of emancipation or last will and testament. Petitioners suing for their freedom on the grounds they had a free mother applied the 1662 law passed by the General Assembly stating that “all children born in this country, shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.”

Works

Agnes : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Agnes : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

30 pages: 0% complete (100% transcribed, 100% needs review)
Benjamin, Thomas : Freedom Suit, Petersburg City

Benjamin, Thomas : Freedom Suit, Petersburg City

22 pages: 27% complete (100% transcribed, 73% needs review)
Bird, Frank (alias: Byrd) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Bird, Frank (alias: Byrd) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Some pages still need work. Help out!

16 pages: 0% complete (6% transcribed, 6% needs review)
Butler, Peter : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Butler, Peter : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Some pages still need work. Help out!

5 pages: 0% complete (40% transcribed, 40% needs review)
Diamond, George (alias: Ellick) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Diamond, George (alias: Ellick) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Some pages still need work. Help out!

105 pages: 4% complete (94% transcribed, 89% needs review)
Fractious, Richard : Freedom Suit, Clarke County

Fractious, Richard : Freedom Suit, Clarke County

4 pages: 75% complete (75% transcribed)
Frank : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Frank : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

14 pages: 7% complete (100% transcribed, 93% needs review)
Kitty : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Kitty : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Some pages still need work. Help out!

8 pages: 0% complete (75% transcribed, 75% needs review)
Muse, William (alias: Billy) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Muse, William (alias: Billy) : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Some pages still need work. Help out!

21 pages: 28% complete (67% transcribed, 38% needs review)
Phillips, Stephen : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

Phillips, Stephen : Freedom Suit, Richmond City

18 pages: 11% complete (100% transcribed, 89% needs review)
Displaying works 1 - 10 of 17 in total

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