Slavery Scholarship Thesis
"Unlawful assembly accounts extracted from the Fredericksburg Mayor’s Court Order Books from 1821-1834, reveal rare glimpses of unsupervised, alleged illegal interactions between free and enslaved individuals, many of whom do not appear in other records.... The complex connections necessary to arrange unlawful assemblies threatened the town’s safety with insurrection if these individuals developed radical ideas opposing the existing social order, the foundation of which was slavery. Akin to residents of areas where natural disasters like volcanoes always pose a risk of dangerous eruptions, those living in Fredericksburg lived their lives within the town slave society and its potential threats. In an area, state, and region where insurrections occurred, unlawful assembly, whether frequent or infrequent, mattered."