Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Website Showcases Law, Family, and Slavery in Early Washington, D.C.

Via Slate's The Vault, we have word of the online archival repository "O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C. Law & Family." From the website:
This project explores multigenerational black, white, and mixed family networks in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing thousands of case files from the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Maryland state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. We include petitions for freedom, civil, criminal, and chancery cases. And we incorporate where possible related documents about these families from special collections, archives, churches, and local historical societies. Scholars from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Maryland 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.
The Stories portion of the website may be of broad interest, as it offers examples of "interactive analysis" (scholarly interpretations of the documents with hyperlinks to the actual primary sources).

Other parts of the website guide the reader to "Cases," "Families," and "People" (including attorneys).