The trial of a Slave
1850 there was a law that was against rape in the state of Missouri. This particular law prohibited any woman to be taken unlawfully by force against her will, menace or duress, and compel her to be defiled. The state of Missouri had an additional law which permitted women to use any deadly weapon or force to protect herself from rape which justified homicide. Although for Celia this law did not apply to her because she was a woman, a slave, she was “owned” by her master Robert Newsom, and she was African American. Celia had nothing positive going for her simply just because she was an African American woman. “Black female slaves were essentially powerless, unable to legally protect themselves from the physical assaults of either white or black males.” (McLaurin 113)
Viewing Celia’s political standpoint throughout her entire trial we can see she basically had no chance of winning the lawsuit. How would her lawyer’s be able to defend her case if there were issues involved simply because she was a slave? Realizing the Missouri law of protection against rape only applied to the slave masters. The law was interpreted to be that a slave master had the right to sue a rapist whom trespassed his property. By his property we acknowledge it is meant to be his slave’s. Newsom is Celia’s owner he had the “right” to do as he pleased with her. Even so when he purchased her while she was still at a young age we can conclude Newsom did not buy Celia as a political statement. Reason being because Robert Newson’s wife had passed away. That was his reason why he went to go buy Celia. He had a more personal reasoning to buying her. Newsom needed someone to take care of his children, a cook, and someone to be intimate with. “She had been raped as a fourteen year old” (McLaurin 97) this particular quote shows that Celia was not a person to Newsom she was more of an object to him.
Celia was accused of killing her “master” Robert Newsom. Even after she confessed to investigator about the death she was still charged with casting, throwing and holding of him. Celia’s words were twisted to form the crime seem worse than what it actually was. Although Celia did receive two testimonies. One was from Robert Newsom’s...