Anna Petronella Woodart The vicissitudes of a mid-18th century female Jamaica slave : from slavery to freedom, to marriage with a white Englishman and ownership of a plantation.

(Jamaica). A highly interesting series of 11 manuscript documents of exceptional substance, folio and 4 to, on paper and vellum, each described in detail below, recording the life of Anna Petronella Woodart, natural mulatto daughter of William Foster, a Jamaican plantation owner, including her inheritance, her naturalization in England granting her and her issue "the same rights and privileges with English subjects born of white parents," her marriage to an Englishman, her return with husband and child to Jamaica to take over the plantation, and, finally, her becoming heir to a second plantation owned by Robert Foster, her father's kin. Jamaica and London, 1756-1769. All documents in excellent, fresh condition, housed in a folding half morocco cloth box with leather label.

This archive depicts in great detail the institutional factors that made this possible, namely the nature and operation of the English legal system, in addition, of course, to the human factor, the personal disposition of this particular slave owner. Illustrated here are the polar extremes of slavery possible within the same legal system—Blacks as chattel (in his will William Foster declares that he has branded forty of his slaves with the letter "F"), and freed Blacks (or at least mulattoes) as integrated members of society, propertied and vested with equal rights and equal protection of the law (as provided by Foster for his mulatto daughter in the same will). As an expression of a particular socio-legal scenario this record invites comparison with conditions in pre- and post-Civil War America and with late 19'^ century Apartheid. Contrast, for example raeial intermarriage with later "scientific" doctrines of biological racial inferiority, or genuine equality before the law with Jim Crow and "separate but ^qual" doctrines.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.