Many people are unaware that the intentional killing of enslaved Blacks in the United States during slavery, and even later, by white people with no repercussions is based on laws passed by white lawmakers who also happened to be plantation owners.
The Casual Killing Act of 1669, for example, deemed it acceptable to murder a slave while correcting because malice could not be assumed. According to the “casual killing of slaves,” if a slave dies while opposing his master, the crime is not assumed to have been committed with “premeditated malice.”
The men of the Virginia General Assembly abolished the penalties for those who accidentally killed a slave in the process of punishment since the Black laborer was considered ‘property.’
Other slave laws passed in Virginia demonstrated the disregard for human life, as well as the distinction between chattel slavery in the United States and other forms of slavery prevalent on the continent of Africa.
It was authorized in 1672 to injure or kill an enslaved person who resisted capture. Legislators further stipulate that the owner of any slave slain in the course of resisting arrest shall be compensated financially for the death of an enslaved worker. Indians who capture escaped slaves and return them to a justice of the peace are also rewarded by legislators.
Earlier in 1639/40, the Virginia General Assembly specifically exempts Blacks from the obligation of owning guns, and later in 1662, Blacks face the prospect of life servitude. The Virginia General Assembly declared that any child born to an enslaved mother would be a slave as well.
Slave laws were passed, further restricting Blacks’ freedom and legalizing unequal treatment of Blacks and Whites.
1667 — Virginia legislators declare that baptism does not provide Blacks freedom. The law was enacted after several slaves in the 1640s and 1650s utilized their Christian status to advocate for their freedom or the freedom of a child. Slave owners were also encouraged to Christianize their enslaved men, women, and children by legislators.
1668 — Enslaved and free black women over the age of 16 are deemed tithable. Freedom does not exclude black women from taxation, according to the Virginia General Assembly.
1680 – The General Assembly of Virginia bans slaves’ ability to mingle at gatherings, even funerals. It was made legal for a white individual or group of people to kill a fugitive slave who was resisting capture. Slaves are also prohibited from: “arming themselves for hostile or defense purposes.” The penalty is 20 lashes on the bareback.
“leave the plantation without your master’s, mistress’s, or overseer’s written authorization.” The penalty is 20 lashes on the bareback.
“… raise his hand against any Christian.” Punishment IA 30 lashes on the back of the bareback.”
1691 – Any white person who marries a black or mulatto is expelled, and a systematic strategy to capture “outlying slaves” is established.
If an outlying slave is killed while fighting capture, the slave’s master is compensated financially.
Interracial couples are only allowed to reside in the colony for three months after they marry.
An English woman who gives birth to a mulatto kid faces a fine of 15 pounds sterling. The fine must be paid within one month of the birth of the child. If a woman cannot pay the fee, she will be forced to work as an indentured servant for five years. If the mother is an indentured servant, she will be subjected to an additional five years of service once her indenture expires.
A 30-year indenture will be served by a mulatto child born to a white indentured servant.
Within six months of earning his or her freedom, a master must transport an emancipated slave out of Virginia.
For capital actions, slaves are denied the right to a jury trial in 1692. Evidence is heard by a minimum of four justices of the peace, who then decide the destiny of the accused. Enslaved people are also prohibited from owning horses, cattle, or hogs after December 31 of that year, according to legislators.
1705 – The right of free persons of color to occupy public office is abolished.
1705 – The privilege to testify as a witness in court trials is restricted to blacks, both free and enslaved.
1705 — Slaves of all races, including blacks, mulattos, and Indians, are regarded as real property.
Enslaved men are barred from serving in the militia in 1705.
1705 – Virginia’s lawmakers expanded the indenture of a mulatto kid born to a white woman to 31 years in an act affecting Servants and Slaves.
Determine that if a white man or woman marries a black partner, the white person will be sentenced to six months in prison and fined ten pounds in current Virginia currency.
Determine that any clergyman who marries an interracial marriage will be subject to a $10,000 tobacco fine.
Determine that any escaped slave who refuses or is unable to identify his or her owner will be imprisoned in a public prison.