Sara Lucy Bagby and the Fugitive Slave Law

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Law, Constitutional Law
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Sara Lucy Bagby and the Fugitive Slave Law

“Slave Auction at Richmond, Virginia.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress

What was the Fugitive Slave Act? From "The Last Race of the RailSplitter," Broadside, ca. 1861, Library of Virginia.

Who was Sara Lucy Bagby and what was her role in the debate over the Fugitive Slave Law?

What does Fugitive mean?

What does Fugitive mean? • Adjective. Fleeing, running away

• Noun. A person who runs away or eludes capture

Fugitive Slave Act • Strengthened as part of the Compromise of 1850 • Required citizens to assist in returning escaped slaves • Made it easier for slaveholders to make claims against escaped slaves • Made it harder for escaped slaves or legally free African Americans to avoid capture

Abraham Lincoln Speech in Cleveland Excerpt

• Have they not all their rights now as they ever have had? Do they not have their fugitive slaves returned now as ever? Have they not the same Constitution that they have lived under for seventy-odd years? Have they not a position as citizens of this common country—and have we any power to change that position?—(Cries of "No.")

Extract from speech of George William Brent in the Virginia Convention • Secession would relieve the Northern States from all constitutional obligations of duty to return our fugitive slaves. It would relieve the negro-stealer from all legal and constitutional restraints, and it would give a secure and safe asylum upon our borders for the escape of the fugitive. As has been well said by some member upon this floor, it would bring Canada down to our very doors.

Sara Lucy Bagby

Picture taken in 1904, Forty-three years after her arrest. Image Source: Mrs. Lucinda Johnson, printed in Annals of the Early Settler's Association of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 5 no. 1. (1904): 32.

What would you do? • Break the law and help Sara Lucy Bagby escape slavery? • Obey the law and send Sara Lucy Bagby back to slavery?

The Fate of Sara Lucy Bagby • Bagby was sent back to slavery in Virginia. • Just a few months later, in June 1861, when federal troops captured Wheeling, she was freed.

• She moved North, married, and eventually settled in Cleveland.

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