Counterfeit Justice: The Judicial Odyssey of Texas by Dale Baum

By Dale Baum

for plenty of of the 40 years of her existence as a slave, Azeline Hearne cohabitated along with her filthy rich, single grasp, Samuel R. Hearne. She bore him 4 young ones, just one of whom survived earlier early youth. while Sam died presently after the Civil warfare ended, he publicly said his courting with Azeline and bequeathed his complete property to their twenty-year-old mulatto son, with the supply that he look after his mom. while their son died early in 1868, Azeline inherited probably the most ecocnomic cotton plantations in Texas and have become one of many wealthiest ex-slaves within the former Confederacy. In Counterfeit Justice, Dale Baum strains Azeline’s outstanding tale, detailing her ongoing criminal battles to say and retain her legacy.

As Baum indicates, Azeline’s inheritance speedy made her a objective for predatory whites made up our minds to strip her of her land. a well-known determine on the Robertson County District court docket from the overdue 1860s to the early Eighteen Eighties, Azeline confronted quite a few lawsuits—including one filed opposed to her by way of her personal legal professional. Samuel Hearne’s family members took steps to dispossess her, and different unscrupulous white males challenged the identify to her plantation, utilizing claims in line with previous Spanish land supplies. Azeline’s lengthy and brave security of her rightful identify introduced her a undeniable notoriety: the 1st freedwoman to be a celebration to 3 separate civil proceedings appealed the entire strategy to the Texas ultimate courtroom and the 1st former slave in Robertson County indicted on legal fees of perjury. even though time and again blocked and pissed off by means of the convolutions of the felony process, she advanced from a bewildered defendant to a made up our minds plaintiff who, in a single notable lawsuit, got here tantalizingly with reference to reaching revenge opposed to those that defrauded her for over a decade.

Due to gaps within the on hand ancient checklist and the unreliability of secondary money owed according to neighborhood Reconstruction folklore, a number of the information of Azeline’s tale are misplaced to heritage. yet Baum grounds his hypothesis approximately her existence in fresh scholarship at the Reconstruction period, and he places his findings in context within the heritage of Robertson County. even if historical past has now not credited Azeline Hearne with influencing the process the legislation, the tale of her uniquely tough place after the Civil conflict offers an exceptional view of the period and of 1 solitary woman’s try and negotiate its social and felony complexities in her fight to discover justice.

Baum’s meticulously researched narrative may be of prepared curiosity to felony students and to all these attracted to the plight of freed slaves in this era.

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