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Redemption SongsSuing for Freedom before Dred Scott$
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Lea VanderVelde

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199927296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199927296.001.0001

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Winny and Her Children

Winny and Her Children

(p.57) Chapter 4 Winny and Her Children
Redemption Songs

Lea VanderVelde

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the case of Winny, which established the legal rule of freedom by residence in 1824. The rule of freedom by residence meant that a slave became free by residing or working in a jurisdiction where slavery was banned. This rule did not apply to runaways, however. The slave had to be upon free soil with their master’s consent. That is, the master must have taken the slave to free territory or allowed the slave to be assigned to free territory. The massive westward movement of settlement people into American territories also included the forced migration of accompanying slaves such as Winny. Winny was moved by her masters, taken first to free territory and then to a slave state, where she sued decades later. What marked Winny’s westward movement for success is that she had lived on free soil.

Keywords:   rule of freedom, residence, slavery, American West, forced migration, freedom suits, slaves

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