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Grant number like: FT-61421-14

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Kimberly Mae Welch
West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, WV 26506-6201)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2014 – 8/31/2014

Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South

Black Litigants: Rethinking Race and Power in the American South, 1820-1860 is a historical and socio-legal study of free and enslaved African Americans’ use of the local courts in the antebellum American South. This project investigates unpublished and previously unexplored lower court records from the Natchez district of Mississippi and Louisiana between 1820 and 1860 in which free blacks and slaves sued whites and other African Americans. It is the first book-length study to systematically examine African American plaintiffs’ involvement in a broad range of civil actions in the American South before the Civil War. The final result of the project will be a historical monograph that examines why African Americans turned to law despite their limited legal rights and what the legal actions of slaves and free blacks reveal about race, power, and negotiation in a slave society.