Students will investigate through primary and secondary sources the dynamics of the development of race relations in early colonial Virginia from court cases between 1640 to 1656. The story and cases of John Punch (1640), John Casor (1655), and Elizabeth Key Grinstead (1656) are known to be some of the first freedom suits in the Virginia colony. Students will then investigate slave codes from 1705 to determine how colonial officials justified the treatment of enslaved people.
Author: Katie Frazier, Museums at W&LStudents will examine a ceramic object made by David Drake (about 1800-about 1870), an enslaved person who lived on a plantation in Edgefield, South Carolina. As an enslaved individual, Drake was denied the basic rights of learning how to read and write. Despite writing being illegal for enslaved people, David Drake was known for writing his name and poetry on the ceramics he made. He wanted to express his feelings about life, religion and his own identity as an enslaved person.
Authored by Jasmine Dunbar (Virginia Beach History Museums)Students will examine the daily lives of enslaved individuals and the institution of slavery in early Virginian history and understand its connections to current societal issues of predjudice, racism, and white supremacy.