Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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Your subject search returned 25 total results.

PAR Number 10382002

State: Delaware Year: 1820
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-six-year-old Andrew Noel recounts that William Hammon brought him to the United States in 1793 from "the Island of St. Domingo" as a slave. He further states that Hammon "manumitted and set at liberty your petitioner" in 1799. Noel, now married with children, represents that he purchased a house and lot in Wilmington for which he "has paid the consideration money." Acknowledging that he "has never been naturalized under the laws of the United States," Noel realizes that "the said property in the event of his death, will not descend to his children, but go to the use of the State of Delaware." The petitioner therefore prays that a law be passed "confirming the title to the said House and lot in him, and authorizing him to sell or devise the same as effectually as he could do, if he were a citizen of the United States, and had been so at the time of the purchase aforesaid."

PAR Number 10382701

State: Delaware Year: 1827
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: The chairman of the Wilmington Union Colonization Society expresses concern about the expanding free black population. Robert Porter argues that free people of color do not and cannot enjoy the most important civil privileges (voting and office holding), cannot associate with whites, and will not be accepted on a basis of equality. Porter defends the legally sanctioned separation by declaring that "our separation from these people is the effect of moral causes, the foundations of which we could not safely remove; amalgamation would demoralize society; the consequence of breaking up the present distinctions would be not to raise the free coloured people, but to sink all to a state of degradation yet unknown.” He therefore suggests "the removal of these people" to the west “coast of Africa” as the solution to what he describes "people by their very condition our enemies." In Porter's opinion, the American Colonization Society is deserving of more "of the resources of the National Government" and if the Society were able to make "this removal general and common, there can be no doubt, that this whole population would flow in a current in that direction."

PAR Number 11186701

State: Missouri Year: 1867
Location: Pike Location Type: County

Abstract: In an eloquent plea to the "Honorable Senate and House of Representatives," eighty two freedmen of Pike County ask that the state remove all legal restrictions "on account of race or color." They do not seek "social equality," they inform the legislative body, but rather the obligations of citizenship. Recalling their plight under slavery, where they stood in a "Kind of medium between that of men and that of brutes so far as any personal rights or privileges were concerned," they remind the legislative body that "where the State demands obligations and duties at the hand of all her citizens without distinction, the correlative rights and privileges of all those citizens should be conceded without distinction." "The injustice and incongruity of requiring of all citizens the Equal payment of taxes for the support of the Government," they argue, while "a large class of those citizens are debarred from all participation or voice in the Government" cannot be "defended as an abstract proposition." "We will not insult the intelligence of your Honorable Body," they add, "by offering proofs of our loyalty as a class. The history of the 200000 soldiers of African descent during the last four years is too fresh in the memory of all the people of the State to require more than reference to it." And if "we are not so well prepared intellectually and by Education as a class for the exercise of the Elective franchise, and other duties of citizens, as others," they conclude, "let the deadly nightmare of legal prohibition that so long oppressed our race, be our apology."

PAR Number 11283108

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred sixty-four residents of New Bern complain that "many of the free negroes residing in the Town of Newbern, claim the right of voting" and "that fifty or more actually exercise that right" to send a representative to the House of Commons. They point out that the state constitution permits those who possess a freehold, who have lived in the town twelve months, and who have paid taxes to cast their ballots as freemen. But, the petitions argue, free blacks are not freemen: they "are forbidden to contract marriage except with their own class"; they cannot sit on juries or testify in court except in certain cases; and they can be sentenced death on the testimony of a slave. "Can these disabilities," the petitioners ask, "belong to a Freeman?" They ask the legislature “to ascertain and determine the true construction of the Constitution upon the subject matter of this their Memorial."

PAR Number 11283203

State: North Carolina Year: 1832
Location: Orange Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-two citizens of Orange County complain about slaves being present during muster calls and at elections. They purport that "the unavoidable tendency of Musters and Elections to produce [a] distraction in the mind of slave, is a matter of general observation" and "they make him obstinate and sulky, sometimes indignant, and very frequently full of melancholy reflections upon that hard destiny which deprives him of the privileges of a free man, and obliges him to labour for an other"; moreover, slaves have opportunities to discuss plots of rebellion on such occasions. "Such a class of people your Petitioners would say are a Cancer on the breast of the body Politick and a Millstone hung around the necks of Masters.” They therefore seek a law "to prohibit for the future the attendance of negro slaves at any Muster or Election ground."

PAR Number 11283602

State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety citizens of Fayetteville seek the passage of a law prohibiting free blacks from voting in town elections. Although an amendment to the state constitution excludes their casting ballots in state elections, "that by Laws relating to the Town of Fayetteville they are entitled to and do exercise that right in the municipal elections of this Town." The petitioners assert that, "with a few exceptions," free persons of color are "totally unfitted either by intent or by property to exercise such a right," yet they "compose quite a large class here."

PAR Number 11283605

State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-two residents of Fayetteville oppose the proposed changes to the Town Charter which would prohibit the suffrage of free persons of color. They assert that many free persons of color own property and pay taxes and are therefore entitled to vote for their representatives. Stating that they "can see no necessity for any changes in the charter of their Town," they do admit that "they can see no good growing out of" and that "they believe it to be fraught with Tyranny and injustice." The petitioners therefore "pray that no alteration may be made in the Charter of said Town."

PAR Number 11379109

State: South Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Charleston bricklayer Thomas Cole and butchers Peter Bassnett Mathewes and Matthew Webb represent that they "are deprived of the Rights and Privileges of Citizens" due to the an act passed in 1740 "commonly called The Negroe Act." They state that they do not have "it in their power to give Testimony on Oath in prosecutions on behalf of the State"; they "are debarred of the Rights of Free Citizens of being subject to a Trial without the benefit of a Jury"; and they "are subject to Prosecution by Testimony of Slaves without Oath by which they are placed on the same footing." The petitioners report that "they have at all times since the Independence of the United States contributed and do now contribute to the support of Government by chearfully paying their Taxes." In addition, they "are ready and willing take and subscribe to such Oath of Allegiance to the States as shall be presented." While they "do not presume to hope that they shall be put on an equal footing with the Free White Citizens of this State," they do "humbly solicit such indulgence as the Wisdom and Humanity of this Honorable House shall dictate in their favor by repealing" the such clauses in the said Act that "will efectually Redress the grievances which your Memorialists humbly submit."

PAR Number 11382224

State: South Carolina Year: 1822

Abstract: Three hundred thirty-four officers and members of the "South Carolina Association" seek to limit an evil of the greatest magnitude, i.e., "the constant intercourse, which is maintained between the blacks of the North and South." They exclaim that "to permit a free intercourse to exist, under such circumstances, between our slaves and their free persons of colour, would be, to invite new attempts at insurrection." The petitioners also decry the presence in South Carolina of "coloured persons" from Europe and the Caribbean, in particular. The memorialists opine that they "cannot conceive a measure, which can give greater security to the State in general, than to prevent ANY FREE COLOURED PERSON FROM ANY PART OF THE WORLD ever entering again into the limits of the State of South-Carolina, by LAND OR BY WATER." Hopeful "that the dangers which menace our prosperity as a Slave-holding State, will be met by a corresponding energy in the laws," the petitioners propose the establishment of "one CONSOLIDATED NEGRO ACT or code, for the government of this class of people," which would incorporate all the "hundreds of acts and parts of acts passed in the course of a century" and which "will give security to the master, without taking away from the protection of the slave ... whilst [enabling] every planter and citizen, at one glance to see his rights and his duties, and thus be a public convenience."

PAR Number 11481501

State: Tennessee Year: 1815
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-five petitioners request that Sherwood Brian, a free man of color, be granted the privileges of citizenship "in every respect as if he Were a White man."

PAR Number 11481927

State: Tennessee Year: 1819
Location: Cocke Location Type: County

Abstract: Obadiah Going, a free man of color, states that he "is unfortunately a descendant of persons of mixed Blood and altho he believes the number of Generations have passed from his ancestors, to entitle your petitioner under the act of Assembly to the privileges of a citizen," he "is deprived of many of the privileges of a free citizen." Going therefore prays that a law be passed "giving to your petitioner the privileges of a citizen."

PAR Number 11482504

State: Tennessee Year: 1825
Location: Rutherford Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-two residents represent that "a large group of free negroes reside in one settlement in Said county" and that "it is believed that They control company elections where they vote." They also argue that the free blacks are "rude and insolent in their behaviour and in every respect are hurtful to Society and especially to the rising generation." The petitioners therefore "think it a grievance for them to remain amongst us, and wish your honorable body in your wisdom to relieve us in any way that you may deem proper."

PAR Number 11482515

State: Tennessee Year: 1825

Abstract: Robert Miller and Burrel G. White "humbly represent that we wish that the free people of colour be restricted in this way That is, that we wish that they be not subject to military duty at all and that they be taxed as high as Slaves and that they be prohibited from voting in any election whatever and that they ought to have a guardian to direct their conduct."

PAR Number 11483719

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Four hundred eighty-two "citizens and property holders of the town of Nashville” represent that "there is an act of the Legislature now in force within the limits of the Corporation at war with the dearest principles of Republican liberty." They purport that the 1829 act, which states "That no person shall be entitled to vote at any election for Mayor, aldermen, or Town Constable, who shall not produce to the judges of such election satisfactory evidence that he has paid his Corporation taxes for the then current year," runs counter to the constitution of the state of Tennessee, which provides "That every free white man of the age twenty-one years, being a citizen of the United States, and a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote ... shall be entitled to vote." The petitioners deplore that some elected offices "may be obtained at a price and the Ballot Box is restricted with a tax-paying qualification." They demand instead "that the ballot box be free -- the elective franchise pure and untrammeled, and that the collection of taxes be left to the law." In an effort "to prevent the rich and the powerful from oppressing the poor and the feeble -- to prevent open corruption from taking part in elections," the citizens request "your Honourable Body to repeal said law."

PAR Number 11583701

State: Texas Year: 1837
Location: Travis Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis Jones, "a man of Color the Decendant of African Parents and Consequently barred by the Constitution of this Republic from exercising the privileges of a Citizen," emigrated to Texas in 1826 and was "received by the Empressario Stephen F Austin as a Colonist" and therefore entitled to a "League of Land" in 1831. Jones relates that "he selected and settled on a League of Land of which he been in peaceable possession for three years." Noting that "he has not received a title for the said Land," Jones prays that "Your honorable body will take into Consideration his peculiar situation and extend to him such relief as in Your wisdom may seem proper."

PAR Number 11583703

State: Texas Year: 1837
Location: Jackson Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel McCulluck states that he fought in the War for Texas Independence and was severely wounded in his right shoulder at the battle of Goliad in 1835, "which has disabled him for Life." "Being a free man of Colour," he therefore "humbly requests your honorable body to direct the proper authorities to give to him that head right he would be intitled to as a free citizen and also Such Bounty Lands as [they] may think him intitled for his services in the army."

PAR Number 11583803

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Nacogdoches Location Type: County

Abstract: William Goyens states that "he is unfortunately a man of colour," who emigrated to Texas in 1830. Since that time, Goyens professes that he has "ever been identified with the feelings and interests of the Anglo American population and has born his humble part in their struggle." For the last five years, he has worked "in publick Services connected with the Indians," and "for the last two years he has the honour to have been appointed a regular Indian Agent -- for the Cherokee Tribe." He further notes that during the War for Texas Independence, he furnished "horses, provisions, and money - small as may have been these services they were at least equal to his ability." Stating that the Colonization Law entitles him to land, Goyens asks that a "League & Labor of Land may be granted him as a Head Right and that a Law may be passed to that effect in his favour."

PAR Number 11583806

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-two "inhabitants of the County of Red River" support the application of Emanuel Carter, "a free born man of Colour" from Tennessee, to remain in Texas and have his property protected. The petitioners consider Carter to be “a well disposed, honest and industrious man, fully competent to discharge, truly and faithfully, any of the privileges of citizenship which the honorable Congress may think proper to grant him."

PAR Number 11583808

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Arriving in Texas in December 1835, Emanuel Carter took up residence in Red River County. He states that he can prove that he emigrated "at the time above" and that he is a free man of color. Declaring that "he has been a faithful and well disposed subject of the laws of the Country, " Carter therefore prays that an act be passed to permit him "to enjoy, unmolested, the privileges of a citisen so far as to be protected by the laws of the country, and to hold land and other property in his own name."

PAR Number 11583809

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Edmund J. Carter, a free man of color, arrived in Texas in January 1837. He asks to "enjoy unmolested the privileges of a citizen" and to hold land and other property in his own name.

PAR Number 11583810

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-seven petitioners "do pray that the said Edmund J Carter may be entitled to the privilege of Citizen Ship the same being a free born man of Color for which we ever submit to your honorable Body."

PAR Number 11583811

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-five residents support the request for citizenship of Edmund J. Carter, a free-born man of color who is honest, industrious, and "manfully Competent to discharge faithfully any of the privileges of citisenShip." Carter had emigrated from Tennessee.

PAR Number 11585702

State: Texas Year: 1857
Location: Jackson Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel McCulloch came to Texas with his father, Samuel McColloch the elder, in 1835. He recounts that "he entered the military service of Texas" and took part "in the storming of the Fort at Goliad," where "he received a severe wound in the right shoulder." McCulloch notes that "he was the only one of the Texan Troops wounded in that action, and the first whose blood was shed in the War of Independence." The petitioner laments that "by the Laws of the Country, for the Independence of which he has fought and bled, and will suffer, he is deprived of the privileges of citizenship by reason of an unfortunate admixture of African blood, which he is said, without any fault of his, to inherit from a remote maternal ancestor." Having never applied for the lands "to which he was entitled under the Mexican Government," McCulloch seeks the "quantum of land that is allowed to other persons, who were citizens of the Country before the declaration of Independence" and asks that he and his children be granted the rights of citizenship.

PAR Number 11586701

State: Texas Year: 1867
Location: Wharton Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen residents of Wharton County propose the establishment of "an Orphans Assylum and manual laboring Institute, for the Education of Freed minors and orphans of the African race." They believe that the condition of "the Entire Black population [that] have been emancipated" as well as the condition of "the White Citizens Among whom they are destined to remain would be infinitely bettered by extending to them the advantage of an Education." They "believe such an institution can be organized upon a Plantation productive in Cotton, Corn, Potatoes and other vegetables that will not only afford the means of Education to 3 or 400 a year, and at the same time instruct them in sound morals, and industrial habits." Of the firm opinion that "the matter should be under the Control of Southern men," the petitioners pray that the legislature "grant unto them a Charter, whereby they may become a body Corporate for that purpose."

PAR Number 21386702

State: South Carolina Year: 1867
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: The Brotherly Association of Charleston petitions to replace its white trustees with people of color. The Association "is composed of colored persons who at the time of it's organization were incapacitated by the laws of the State of South Carolina from exercising the rights and privileges of Citizenship. To obviate this objection and to enable them to carry out the charitable purposes aimed at by the organization ... they petitioned the Legislature for an act of Incorporation and prayed the appointment of certain white citizens as Trustees." In 1857 the legislature granted their request. The petitioners point out that the Civil Rights Bill passed by the United States Congress and "the subsequent repeal by the Legislature of South Carolina of all disabling Statutes touching the exercise of the rights of Citizenship by the Colored Inhabitants of this State" remove the necessity for white trustees. They further assert that "while your petitioners entertain a profound sense of gratitude for the manner in which these Trustees have discharged the duties of the Trust they cannot but feel that in the changed condition of affairs it would be more agreeable to all parties, That the Trusteeship of their Association should vest in persons of their own Color."