Negro Testimony.

May 26, 1866


A black man is asked to testify as a witness in court in a white Southerner's case at the Virginia Circuit Court under the Civil Rights bill. The judge denies his participation under laws of the State.


Negro Testimony. - In the Circuit Court, Judge H. W. Thomas, yesterday, when the case of the Commonwealth vs. Roe, a white man, charged with felony, was being tried, W. Willoughby, Commonwealth's attorney, asked that he might be permitted to introduce negro witnesses to testify in the case, claiming the right to do so under the provisions of the "Civil Rights bill." The Judge declined permission, on the ground that this was a State court, and that he was acting under the laws of the State, which forbade that a negro should testify in a case against a white man, except "when the case arises out of an injury done, attempted, or threatened, to the person, property, or rights of a colored person or Indian, or when the offence was committed by a white person in conjunction with a colored person or Indian." The Judge stated his determination to execute the laws of his State until ordered to do otherwise. -Alexandria Gazette, 24th.
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Brooke Beam




“Negro Testimony.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022,