Pittsylvania County Historical Society Books

Pittsylvania County's Historic Courthouse: The Story Behind Ex Parte Virginia & The Making of a National Landmark

By:  Herman Melton

 Fully indexed, well written narrative (146 pages) . This extraordinary study of a turning point in the saga of equal protection under the law for Americans of African origin contains 146 pages, including copies of original documents, photographs and letters. Fully indexed with a bibliography, the work is essential to an understanding of one of the least publicized aspects of the long struggle. It is written in an appealing narrative style, which opens in this fashion, on the morning of November 29, 1877: "Deputy U.S. Marshal O. R. Wooten of the U. S. District Court for Western Virginia in Danville had a writ of habeas corpus cum causa in his pocket when he and a posse of eight men appeared at the Patrick County jail and demanded custody of two African-American prisoners. The dramatic event was the precipitating cause of a judicial crisis which resulted in the arrest of fourteen Virginia county judges and the handing down of two U.S. Supreme Court landmark decisions."

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