Maryland General Assembly

In the September 1664 session of Maryland's General Assembly, attending delegates passed an act changing the history of African Americans in the State of Maryland. "An Act Concerning Negroes and other Slaves," officially defined the legal classification of African Americans in Maryland by stating, "All Negroes and other slaves to bee hereafter imported into the Province shall serve Durante Vita And all Children born of any Negro or other slaves shall be Slaves as their fathers were for the terms of their Hues." The importance of this act is twofold. First, it declared that all imported people classified as a "Negro" would be legally defined as a slave, serving for the duration of their lives. Secondly, the act indirectly pronounces that all African Americans who came to Maryland were not necessarily slaves prior to the passing of this act. Since the founding of Maryland in 1634, African Americans occupied social classes of slaves, indentured servants, as well as free men and women. It would take two-hundred years for slavery in Maryland to abolish slavery, with the passage of the 1864 Constitution.   

"Act Concerning Negroes"

Article 24 of 1864 Constitution

October: Benjamin Banneker (1806)

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