The Lemmon Slave Case

In November of 1852 Jonathan and Juliet Lemmon were traveling from Viriginia to Texas with eight slaves.  They stopped in New York City to catch a steamboat for Texas.  Louis Napoleon, a free black man living in New York City learned of the eight slaves and swiftly petitioned the Superior Court of New York City for a writ of habeus corpus on behalf of the slaves.  Justice Elijah Paine granted the application after a hearing from November 9-12, 1852 and the slaves were freed.  The basis of his decision was a New York state law freeing any slaves that entered the borders of the state.  Go here to read the decision. (more…)

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Chester A. Arthur and Elizabeth Jennings


Chester A. Arthur is one of our more obscure presidents, and that is unfortunate.  He ran an honest administration that won the praise of such a jaundiced observer of the political scene as Mark Twain, and in many ways he led an interesting life.  One of the aspects of his career worthy of note is a legal victory that he gained at the age of 24.

On July 16, 1854, Elizabeth Jennings, a schoolteacher and a Church organist was running late for Church.  She boarded a streetcar owned by the Third Avenue Railroad Company at the corner of Pearl and Chatham streets in New York city.  So far, so humdrum.  However, Miss Graham was black and the Third Avenue Railroad Company banned blacks from riding on their streetcars.  The conductor told her to get off and she refused.  He then attempted to physically remove her, and she resisted.  Finally, a policeman was summoned and he removed her from the train. (more…)

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Chester A. Arthur and Elizabeth Jennings  
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