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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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Leah Charleville

Leah Charleville

(p.117) Chapter 9 Leah Charleville
Redemption Songs

Lea VanderVelde

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the story of Leah Charleville, a woman who lived in a somewhat unsavory netherworld of duplicity between legality and illegality. Her story is significant because of her savvy use of the courts to secure her own freedom and that of her children. Leah kept house for a ring of thieves at her boarding house. A widely publicized criminal trial revealed her means of survival and exposed her as complicit in a various petty crimes, though she was not charged, convicted, or exonerated. She disappeared after that exposure, leaving her teenage children to finish their own court battles.

Keywords:   criminal trials, freedom suits, slaves, courts

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