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Law and Jurisprudence


Celia, the property of Robert Newsom, stood trial in Fulton, Missouri, in 1855 for the murder of her master, a prosperous Callaway County farmer. The events that led to her arrest, her trial, and her ultimate fate provide a fascinating case study of the significance of gender in the slaveholding South and the manner in which the southern legal system was manipulated to ensure the slaveholder’s power over his human chattel while creating the illusion of a society that extended the protection of the law to its slaves.

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