The Black Holocaust: 3 Racist Courtroom Decisions Relevant Today

American laws have historically been used to reinforce white supremacy and further the subjugation of Black people. In this article, Hakeem Muhammad documents several  horrendous court decision that set forth the precedent of legalizing the oppression of Black people.

Celia Vs. State Of Missouri

State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave was a murder trial that took place in 1855. Celia’s slave master, Robert Newsom  repeatedly raped  her. One day,  Newson came into the cabin where Celia lived and made sexual advances. Celia rejected his sexual advances but Newson persisted. In response, Celia took a stick and hit him. Newsom tried to grab her and she continued to hit him with the stick eventually killing him.  Afterwards, Celia was brought up on murder charges and the court determined that Celia could not plead self defense. The court held that white slave masters had a right to rape their Black slaves and slaves could not resist. Sadiya Hartman, in Scenes of Subjection  writes that the court indicated, The enslaved could neither give nor refuse consent, nor offer reasonable resistance, yet they were criminally responsible and liable.” With a guilty verdict for murder, Celia would be hanged for her “crime.”


North Carolina v. Mann


In the case of North Carolina vs Mann, John Mann brutally lashed his slave Lydia. While being lashed, Lydia attempted to escape, whereupon Mann shot and wounded her. John Mann was indicted for assault and battery, the court dismissed the charges and Judge Ruffin declared, “The power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect..” Judge Ruffin posits a “slippery slope’ argument stating that if white slave masters can be brought up on charges for shooting slaves, they could potentially be brought up on charges for any form of abuse, and that this would defeat the very essence of slavery.   In light of John Mann shooting a black woman, the court declared,”There is no remedy.”   

   Dred Scott Decision vs. Samford

In the case of  Dred Scott vs. Samford, Dred Scott freed for his from from slavery. His master, Scott Emerson, purchased him in a slave state of St. Louis, Missouri and subsequently moved to Illinois which had prohibited slavery in its territories. Dred Scott would sue for his freedom  and the question had hand was, did Dred Scott’s transfer to a free that entitle him to freedom. Supreme Court Justice, Roger B. Taney ruled that Blacks were,“regarded as beings of an inferior order” and had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  The  court further ruled that Black people did not even have standing to bring a suit in court.


About: Hakeem Muhammad is a Black Freedom Fighter and every  racist White Settler Colonist’s worse nightmare.

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