Category: Women’s History

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Against ffornication” (1662)

In this law, “Against ffornication,” passed in its March 1662 session, the General Assembly addressed the problem of indentured servants having sex that produced pregnancies that, in turn, cost masters money and labor.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“An Acte against Conjuration Witchcrafte and dealing with evill and wicked Spirits” (1604)

In this act, “An Acte against Conjuration Witchcrafte and dealing with evill and wicked Spirits,” passed by Parliament in the session that began on March 19, 1603, and ended July 7, 1604, the English government, not for the first time, outlawed witchcraft. It was the this law, however, that authorities used to prosecute accused witches in Virginia. Some contractions have been expanded. The last witchcraft trial in the mainland colonies took place in 1730, and Parliament repealed the law in 1736. Some spelling has been modernized and contractions expanded.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Concerning secret Marriages” (1658)

In this law, “Concerning secret Marriages,” passed in its 1658 session, the General Assembly addressed the problem of indentured servants having children and marrying. For masters, this resulted in a loss of the women servants’ labor, for which the law attempted to provide compensation. The act revises one passed during the 1643 session. Some spelling has been modernized.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Interview of Mrs. Fannie Berry” (February 26, 1937)

Fannie Berry, a woman who was born into slavery, tells an interviewer from the Virginia Writers Project about her life on February 26, 1937. Some of her major memories include the rebellions of Nat Turner and John Brown, the Civil War, and life with her enslaver Mrs. Sarah Ann. The editors of Weevils in the Wheat noted that Berry was “a prolific tale teller,” and that in the source material used for compiling the collection there were sometimes discrepancies between two different versions of a similar anecdote attributed to Berry. The editors of Weevils in the Wheat inserted comments in this transcription. Their bracketed comments have been included below.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Roanoke News” (November 13, 1920)

In “Roanoke News,” published by the Richmond Planet on November 13, 1920, the editors report on the comings and goings of Black Roanoke with particular attention and enthusiasm for the Colored Women’s Republican Club of Roanoke and its president Millie Lawson Bethell Paxton.

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