Litigating Whiteness: Trials of Racial Determination in the Nineteenth Century South

  title={Litigating Whiteness: Trials of Racial Determination in the Nineteenth Century South},
  author={Ariela Julie Gross},
  journal={Yale Law Journal},
  • A. Gross
  • Published 1 May 1998
  • Law, History
  • Yale Law Journal
Judges in the nineteenth-century South repeatedly held that race was a matter of "fact," not "law," something best left to juries to decide, because juries represented the sense of the community. Race was something common-sensical something a Southerner just knew. Witnesses in the courtroom reinforced the notion of race as common sense by invoking an ineffable something that made someone white which any Southerner could discern and, likewise, the belief that a drop of African blood would make… 

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Supreme Court, Case F, Box 21), rev'd, 20 Ga

    at 62 (petition for change of venue by James White)

      See Transcript of Trial, Bryan I, supra note 205, at 21a-25 (containing the defendant's requested instructions and the judge's charge to the jury)

        RR (carrying off of runaway slave by railroad or steamboat)

          at 26-27 (testimony of S.N. Cannon); id. at 28-29 (testimony of

            RTS (rights exercised); and SCI (scientific evidence )

              INH (inheritance)

                Box 17), rev'd, 14 Ga

                • collection of Ga. Dep't of Archives & History

                These abbreviations represent the following categories: BAS (bastardy)

                  R (reversed or remanded (not necessarily overturning finding on color