“O Say Can You See”: the Early Washington, D.C. Law and Family Project explores multi-generational black and white family networks in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing over 4,000 case files from the D.C. court from 1808 to 1815, records of Md. courts, and related documents about these families. Scholars from the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska will collaborate by uncovering the web of litigants, jurists, legal actors, and participants in this community, and by placing these family networks in the foreground of our interpretive framework of slavery and national formation. Focusing first on the landmark 1813 case Queen v. Hepburn, one of the earliest petitions for freedom from slavery heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a foundational case establishing the hearsay rule, the project will document the relationships within and among black and white families in early D.C. at the center of these cases, host virtual seminars to refine our methods, and produce a series of studies in monograph and article form.

Mar 2013Feb 2015| Director: Jennifer Guiliano| Sponsor: | Topics: |