Alexandria Library -- Special Collections

Document of the Month

December 2006

Response To A Request by Free African Americans for Religious Liberty, February 25, 1841

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This document hung on the wall of Lloyd House, the former location of Local History/Special Collections. It is currently located in the Archives and Manuscript Collection; the index to that collection can be accessed by clicking here. The document is transcribed below:

The Committe (sic) to whom was refer'd the memorial of J. Evans & others, beg leave to report. That they have investigated the subject of the memorial, with a disposition to report in favor of granting to the memorialists, the same religious liberty, claim'd by every other class of the community, but from the peculiar circumstances of the memorialists, which it is not now necessary to state, your committe (sic) believe that were their prayer granted it would be injurious to them, rather than benefical (sic) ___ They are of opinion that under the present law, the memorialists are less liable to interuption (sic), from without or within, and that the order and decency of their meetings can be better observ'd by having some suitable white person to preside over their exercises, and that while all the churches are open for their reception, your committe (sic) can hardly think the law complain'd of is a grevience (sic); taking this view of the subject they ask to be discharg'd from any further action on the memorial.

February 25, 1841

B. Wheat
William Morrill
James Entwisle

Transcribed by Leslie Anderson Morales, December 2006

Related Resources
  • Alexandria City Papers (microfilm #00580)
  • Black Worship, 1838, 1853 (microfilm #00580)
  • Donald Sweig "Free and Black in Northern Virginia Before the Civil War," Northern Virginia Heritage, February 1983, pp. 3-7
  • VF: Churches

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