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Litigating Across the Color LineCivil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights$
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Melissa Milewski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190249182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190249182.001.0001

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Challenging Whites’ Bequests

Challenging Whites’ Bequests

(p.78) 3 Challenging Whites’ Bequests
Litigating Across the Color Line

Melissa Milewski

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 examines cases in which masters had set aside money in their wills for their slaves to be emancipated and sent to Liberia upon their owner’s death. In the 35 years after the Civil War, former slaves who had been sent to Liberia or had been slated to be sent to Liberia brought suits in southern courts over these wills to try to gain funds that had been left for their emigration. There, in postwar courts, their suits appealing to white men’s last testaments would often fare well before judges and juries of white southerners, who sought to uphold the right of white Americans to do what they wished with their property upon their death.

Keywords:   Liberia, emancipation, court, litigant, African American, will, slave, bequest, law, civil case

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