Pass for free woman Harriet Lawson to visit her husband, Caleb

About the Project

In 1832, Harriet Lawson carried this pass to visit her husband, Caleb, at his work in a nearby town. Born Harriet Scoggins, she married Caleb Lawson in 1829 in Frederick County, Maryland. As free blacks, the Lawsons could legally marry, but Maryland placed limits on their liberty. Following Nat Turner’s Rebellion in1831, Maryland instituted some of the most severe laws in the entire South regarding slaves and free blacks. The latter were not allowed to travel freely, even locally without a pass. If they traveled without a pass, they could be fined $20 or sold into slavery. Help us transcribe this pass and discover more about free African Americans in the South before the Civil War .

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