Browse Items (18 total)

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Walter Plecker circulated a list of surnames of "mixed negroid Virginia families striving to pass as 'Indian' or white" in each county.

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Atha Sorrells presented her family tree as evidence that she was white in her suit to obtain a license to marry Robert Painter.

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Every person living in Virginia had to register as either "white" or "colored." This designation determined whom a person could marry and where he or she could attend school, among other things.

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Robert Wright, a free black, married Mary Godsey, a white woman, in 1806. In January 1815 she eloped with a white man, taking with her a slave and other property. Wright overtook the couple and persuaded his wife to return. That November, she fled…

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A.T. Shields, clerk of the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County, denied Atha Sorrells and Robert Painter a marriage license because of Sorrells' Indian heritage. Sorrells and Painter brought action against Shields, and Judge Holt ruled in their favor,…

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In a letter to Turner McDowell, clerk of the Circuit Court in Botetourt County, Walter Plecker probed the legality of the marriage between Grace Mohler and Samuel Christian Branham. The court ruled that Branham was a "Negro" and ordered him "never…
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