A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War
National Archives Museum
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For over 70 years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, MD, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital. William G. Thomas III, history department chairman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, recounts the story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history.
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