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Fathers of Conscience

Mixed-race Inheritance in the Antebellum South

Bernie D. Jones (author)

ISBN: 9780820329802

Publication Date: Feb 2009

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

Looks at the legal and cultural implications of bequests that crossed the color line. This book examines high-court decisions in the antebellum South that involved wills in which white male planters bequeathed property, freedom, or both to women of color and their mixed-race children.
£67.50

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This book offers a new look at the legal and cultural implications of bequests that crossed the color line. "Fathers of Conscience" examines high-court decisions in the antebellum South that involved wills in which white male planters bequeathed property, freedom, or both to women of color and their mixed-race children. These men, whose wills were contested by their white relatives, had used trusts and estates law to give their slave partners and children official recognition and thus circumvent the law of slavery. The will contests that followed determined whether that elevated status would be approved or denied by courts of law.Bernie D. Jones argues that these will contests indicated a struggle within the elite over race, gender, and class issues - over questions of social mores and who was truly family. Judges thus acted as umpires after a man's death, deciding whether to permit his attempts to provide for his slave partner and family. Her analysis of these differing judicial opinions on inheritance rights for slave partners makes an important contribution to the literature on the law of slavery in the United States.
Illustrations Illustrations
Pages 192
Date Published 28 Feb 2009
Publisher The University of Georgia Press
Series Studies in the Legal History of the South
Subject/s History of the Americas   Slavery & abolition of slavery   Social & cultural history   Black & Asian studies   Wills & probate / Succession  
Bernie D. Jones is an assistant professor in the Legal Studies department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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