John Casor

American slave

John Casor was the first person of African descent, to be made a slave for life, in a court ruling. In 1662,the Virginia Colony passed the legal principle, Partus sequitur ventrem, which said children would have the legal status of their mother. If their mother was a slave, they would be slaves, regardless of their father's race or status.[1] This was in contradiction to English common law for English subjects, which based a child's status on that of the father.


  1. Taunya Lovell Banks, "Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit – Subjecthood and Racialized Identity in Seventeenth Century Colonial Virginia", 41 Akron Law Review 799 (2008), Digital Commons Law, University of Maryland Law School, accessed April 21, 2009