“An Act Defining the Status of Mulatto Bastards,” December 1662

“ That all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother”

During this time of colonization many Englishmen in Virginia were engaging in sexual activities with the slaves and natives, due to the fact that there was a shortage of Englishwoman in America. However, with sex led to childbirth and then the question arose of what the status of the child would be if it was from a prestigious Englishman and someone non-European.  In this law it was decided that the status of the child was dependent on the status of the mother.  Women had no rights or claims in property, specifically women of color, but as soon as it relates to something that could hurt them and benefit the white community, that situation changes.  It shows the injustices that occurred based on racial differences, that the women had no claim over their body yet it dictated the future of their child.  The black women was constantly being used as a means of production in the fields and reproduction in the bedroom, that was her only role in life.  

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4 thoughts on ““An Act Defining the Status of Mulatto Bastards,” December 1662

  1. Pingback: Order of Blog Posts | The Intersectionality of Oppression

  2. Nice job making the reader aware of how white men viewed African American women. That’s important in relation to this post. You could also make note of the fact that these white men were making their wives have a negative view of African American women as “temptresses” over time.

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  3. I think it’s worth making clear that ideas of racial hierarchy *emerge* out of this situation, rather than justifying it. You might even point out that the law that you’re quoting doesn’t use the words black/white.

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