A new and excellent resource from one of the nation's premier libraries is now available to help us develop a deeper understanding of the African-American experience in the antebellum South.Library of Virginia has started a new blog based on its soon-to-be available research database called "Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative." It the initial post in this series, Chris Smith, a Local Records Archival Assistant, describes and discusses the Library's collection of "freedom suits," meaning lawsuits brought by Virginia slaves seeking their freedom in court. Even though some slaves could sue for their freedom, the legal system clearly did not favor these claims. For example, in one case, a judge instructed a jury that "the presumption is that every negro is a slave."
Future posts will detail other aspects of the Library's extensive collection of antebellum material.