Archive for the ‘North Carolina Courts’ Category

Aside from reading all books Atlantic World oriented, I’ve been digging through the evidence for a murder from back in 1821.  Well at least it started out as a murder investigation.  It was like a CSI script in many ways.  A body washes up on shore, the man appears to have had his throat slit.  He was wrapped in a blanket that appeared to have been attached to several rocks to ensure the body wasn’t found.  Moreover, several witnesses reported that he was in possession of a large amount of cash and had been (quite stupidly) flaunting it.

The man boarded a ship to go from Virginia to Camden, North Carolina.  He never reached his destination and his body washed up on shore near Pasquotank County, North Carolina.  The local justices of the peace put out a warrant for his arrest and the story in the local paper about the “MURDER!” was published in over 15 papers from North Carolina to Maine. (more…)

I needed an outlet for my historical blogging needs so I opened a new blog here at WordPress at

I didn’t want to bore all those who check my blog for weight loss advice with long discussions of slavery and slave patrols.  So if you are interested swing on by  and leave a few comments.

Here is a copy of the inaugural post on my new blog…


Here are some excerpts from a graduate level paper I wrote a few years ago. The first part is merely restating the position of other scholars (proving I understood their work), the second part is my original work in reviewing and analyzing several North Carolina Supreme Court decisions regarding slaves, free blacks, white men, white women, and the theme that tied it all together- honor.

Here are a few excerpts. The full paper can be found in Word format file linked at the bottom of this post. Citations have been omitted from this posting and can be found in the complete paper provided below.

Why couldn’t slaves possess honor?

Four reasons explain the perception of slaves as beings without honor. First, plantation life led many whites to view blacks as hopelessly depraved and indifferent to correction. Second, laws enacted by the legislature created a wall that kept slaves from acquiring the ability to meet the requirements of the duel and honor. Third, “scientific” literature on race fed into white beliefs that blacks lacked the capacity of bearing honor, from their flat noses to their skin color. Lastly, the peculiar institution required total submission from slaves. If slaves had been granted honor it would have required the reciprocal ability to defend that honor— an ability that would have proved dangerous to the system itself.