In The Words of Others…

Enactment of Hereditary Slavery Law Virginia 1662-ACT XII

“WHEREAS some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or ffree, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act (Hening 1809–23 Vol 2:170).”

[Under English law a child received his or her status from his father. This Virginia colonial law law of December 1662 made a child of an enslaved mother was also a slave for life.]

NPS Ethnography Program