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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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The Law of Contracts and Property

The Law of Contracts and Property

(p.93) 4 The Law of Contracts and Property
Litigating Across the Color Line

Melissa Milewski

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 examines cases between 1865 and 1899 in which black southerners faced off against whites over everyday economic matters, disputing contracts, contesting transactions of land or livestock, and demanding fair payment for work they had completed. More than one-third of these cases involved black and white participants who had known one another as master and slave. As they litigated such suits, African Americans throughout the South asserted their right to participate in the postwar economy on an independent, equal basis. In response, white litigants asserted their own view of black litigants’ place in the southern economy, which often looked all too similar to the era of slavery.

Keywords:   Economy, Reconstruction, property, litigant, African American, transaction, court, civil case, law, contract

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