“Suing the Master: Slave Litigation in Eighteenth-Century Louisiana”
This talk explores slaves’ manipulation of colonial laws and customs to secure legal freedom for themselves and their extended families, often in the face of slaveholder resistance. In particular, Peraza analyzes enslaved litigants’ claims to freedom in the colonial courts of eighteenth-century Louisiana. Enslaved Africans cultivated a sophisticated legal consciousness which they used to negotiate the terms of their release from bondage. Their stories suggest some of the problems and possibilities of slave legal resistance.
This talk is free and is being held at the Michigan Street Baptist Church, 511 Michigan Street. The day includes free tours, refreshments, and information on the corridor and the Friend’s Volunteer Program. This event is being sponsored by the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center at Buffalo State and the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission.
Peraza is a lecturer in the History and Social Studies Education Department. He earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history from SUNY-Buffalo, specializing in slavery and manumission in the Atlantic World. Other research interests include race and racism in America, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights movement. He teaches courses on U.S. history, African American history, African Americans and Civil Rights, and hip-hop culture.
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