Walter Hoye

Jackey Wright

In Abortion, Special Edition on November 18, 2013 at 12:00 am
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Without Life, Nothing Matters.

Freedom Suit Series

“Anyone who kidnaps someone and either sells him as a slave or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.” — Exodus 21:16, New Century Version (NCV) 

Freedom suits are legal petitions filed by slaves for freedom. Between America’s colonial period and the American Civil War, a number of civil actions were brought to courts of law by STRONG BLACK WOMEN that challenged both the moral maxim and the legal legitimacy of JUST-SUBJECTION 1 and WRONGFUL-ENSLAVEMENT 2 in America. This series of columns will explore those lawsuits and expose lessons that can be engaged by the Body of Christ and the Pro-Life movement today, in the wake of the 1973 United States Supreme Court (USSC) decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

White Space Holder

Mariah Carey As A Field Slave In The Butler Movie

Lee Daniels’ movie “The Butler” upset some people when a photograph of Mariah Carey playing the role of a field slave went viral. The picture caught a barrage of flak from those on social
media who felt that anyone with a complexion like Mariah’s wouldn’t actually have to
work in the field, therefore deeming the illustration inaccurate.
As you can see, even today, skin color is an issue3

Hudgins v. Wright (1806)

“This is not a common case of mere Blacks suing for their freedom; but of persons perfectly White.” 4

Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett)

Hudgins v. Wright (1806) was a freedom suit decided in the favor of the Slave Jackey Wright by the Virginia Supreme Court. Jackey sued for freedom for herself and her two (2) children based
on her claim of being descended from Native Americans, instead of Black Americans
as her Slave Master Houlder Hudgins argued for the basis of her legal slavement. 5

Perfectly White

“What more than strong characteristic features would be required, to prove a person White?” 6 — George K. Taylor, Legal Counsel For The Appellees

“The Chancellor (George Wythe) in person viewed the complainants (Jackey Wright and her children) and perceived the youngest to be perfectly White, and that there were gradual shades of difference in color between the grandmother, mother and grand-daughter. Upon his own view, and all the other evidence the chancellor determined the appellees to be entitled to freedom: and moreover, (on the ground that Freedom is every human being’s birthright — according to the first article in the Virginia Bill of Rights, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent“), he laid it down as a general position, that whenever one person claims to hold another in slavery, the onus probandi (i.e., the burden of proof) lies on the claimant.” 7 — Reports Of Cases In The Supreme Court Of Appeals Of Virginia

G. K. Taylor, Esq.Jackey Wright was a slave serving Houlder Hudgins. On Thursday, November 11th, 1806 Jackey sued in the Virginia Court of Appeals (today the Virginia Supreme Court) for her freedom and for the freedom of her two (2) children. 8 Jackey’s case was based on her being descended from multiple generations of Native American Indian women. 9 Jackey and her children appeared “White” 10 by the justices of the Virginia Court of Appeals, which relied on the visual and factual finding of trial judge George Wythe. According to George K. Taylor (Jackey Wright’s legal counsel) Phoebe Wilson (Jackey’s mother) 11 was an Indian 12 and thus Jackey was wrongfully enslaved based on the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights. Wright herself said Phoebe (her mother) was the daughter of Hannah and granddaughter of Butterwood Nan. 13 Both Hannah and Butterwood Nan were Indian described by witnesses as having “Indian” characteristics, such as long straight hair. 14

Virginia 1662 LawVirginia was one of the first states to acknowledge slavery in its laws, initially enacting such a law in 1661. However, in 1662 the American Colony of Virginia enacted a law of hereditary slavery meaning that a child born to an enslaved mother inherits her slave status. This law would have a profound effect on the continuance of slavery, even after the slave trade was abolished in 1863.

Negro Womens Children To Serve
According To The Condition Of The Mother

“WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a Negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a Negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act.” 15

This law officially recognized “Slavery” as an “Institution” that needed to be defined, controlled and regulated.

Slavery for American Indians in the American Colony of Virginia was outlawed after 1691 and|or 1705 (“depending on judicial interpretation“).16 Houlder Hudgins, the Wright’s Slave Master, argued that Jackey and her children were justly subjected to slavery because Jackey was of mixed race and partial African descent.17 However, Judge Wythe had ruled that, based on the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, there was a presumption that White men and women were born free. Without the benefit of DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (i.e., DNA) Technology,18 Hudgins could not prove his claim that Jackey and her children were the product of African ancestry 19 and consequently born slaves. In the end, Jackey Wright with her blue eyes 20 and her children looked perfectly White and were set free.

Open Letter To The Church

LESSON: Skin Color Still Matters In America

A Lesson We Can Learn From The Case Of Jackey Wright

“By contrast, a person who appeared ‘Negro’ would be presumed a Slave, unless affirmative evidence could prove that she was free. Indians were by default citizens of a free nation; Africans were by default members of an enslaved race.” — Ariela Julie Gross 21

“A nation rises or sinks on the physical or mental quality of its citizens. It cannot thrive when its fundamental structure is based on defective stock, the increase of morons, feeble minded, psychopaths or diseased slum populations.” — Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood Founder 22

Skin Color Still MattersSkin color mattered from 1800 to 1866 when Black Codes,23 restricted the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of Black Americans with no pretense of equality. Skin color mattered between 1876 and 1965 when Jim Crow Laws 24 mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy. Skin color mattered in 1890, as “separate but equal” 25 status for Black Americans was a legal doctrine in United States constitutional law.

Christians And The Color LineSkin color mattered in 1921 when Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which later would become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.26 Sanger’s New York Birth Control Clinic was located in Harlem, staffed by all female doctors and an entirely Black American staff.27 Apparently, skin color mattered to Sanger. Skin color mattered in 1924 when the Virginia General Assembly addressed Margaret Sanger’s concerns for America (see quote above) and community concerns about eugenics and race by passing two (2) laws that reflected the racial presumptions of the American Colony of Virginia’s “Hereditary Slavery Law” of 1662. So on Thursday, March 20th, 1924 the “Racial Integrity Act” and the “Sterilization Act” were passed.28 The “Racial Integrity Act” defined race by the “One-Drop Rule” (meaning any person with “one drop of Negro blood” was considered Black) and required that every person be recorded at birth as either White or Black. As a bonus, the “Racial Integrity Act” safeguarded the purity of the White race by expanding the scope of Virginia’s seventeenth century ban on interracial marriage and criminalized all marriages between White persons and Non-White persons. Furthermore and in concert, with the Sanger inspired “Racial Integrity Act”, the “Sterilization Act” legalized compulsory sterilization of persons deemed to be “feebleminded, insane, idiotic, imbecile, or epileptic.” The “Sterilization Act” was challenged, but ultimately upheld by the United States Supreme Court in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case.29

The Persistence Of The Color LineSkin color mattered in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee 30 and when my Dad broke the Color-Line in the National Football League by becoming the first Black American to work in the front office as Assistant Director of Public Relations for the San Diego Chargers.31 To say my life would never be the same, while a very true saying, is nevertheless a gross understatement of my experiences growing up Black in America. From my birth in Detroit, Michigan in 1956 to my incarceration in Oakland, California in 2009,32 skin color mattered. Skin color mattered in the 2008 33 and 2012 34 Presidential elections. Even today, as my wife (Lori) and I work to reach Black Americans with the message of LIFE in the Pro-Life movement, skin color matters.35

John Bull NegroCould it be that victory for the Pro-Life movement will only come when we acknowledge that skin color matters in America? Could it be that victory will only come when we learn to reach across the Color-Lines with compassion (Jude 2236 and with courage (Jude 23)? 37 Could it be that victory will only come when we recognize that in the United States of America where skin color mattersone-size-fits-allcommunity strategies will NOT end abortion? Could it be that victory will only come when we forgive one another, embrace our divinely inspired differences and in love hold on to the Christ-Like sameness of our souls?

Yeah, I think it could.

Brothers, we need to talk.


 In my very, very strong opinion, THE BIBLE DOES NOT JUSTIFY SLAVERY. If pastors (christian leaders) of the South taught their congregants to obey the Mosaic laws that criminalized kidnapping human beings, the harsh treatment of servants, the return of runaway servants and without preferring the rich over the poor or men over women, held everyone accountable for their own actions in the public square, slavery would not have existed.


Deuteronomy 24:7 says: “If someone kidnaps a fellow Israelite, either to make him a slave or sell him, the kidnapper must be killed. You must get rid of the evil among you.”

Harsh Treatment

Exodus 21:26,27 says: “If a man hits his male or female slave in the eye, and the eye is blinded, the man is to free the slave to pay for the eye. If a master knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, the man is to free the slave to pay for the tooth.”

Runaway Servants

Deuteronomy 23:15-16 say: “If an escaped slave comes to you, do not hand over the slave to his master. Let the slave live with you anywhere he likes, in any town he chooses. Do not mistreat him.”

The New Testament speaks equally as strong against the kidnapping of human beings (which is the basis of slavery) as the Old Testament. Please read the Apostle Paul’s warning against false teaching in 1st Timothy 1:8-10 (NCV): “But we know that the law is good if someone uses it lawfully. We also know that the law is not made for good people but for those who are against the law and for those who refuse to follow it. It is for people who are against God and are sinful, who are unholy and ungodly, who kill their fathers and mothers, who murder, who take part in sexual sins, who have sexual relations with people of the same sex, WHO SELL SLAVES, who tell lies, who speak falsely, and who do anything against the true teaching of God.

“Perhaps the most compelling argument AGAINST SLAVERY in the New Testament is Paul’s letter to Philemon, in which the Apostle asks Onesimus (a fellow Christian) to free his Christian slave.


01. A paradox noted by Edlie Wong in her book “Neither Fugitive Nor Free” (2009), slave states had statutes that provided for slaves to sue for “wrongful enslavement”, based on slave laws that established “just subjection”, page 5 and 153 (
02. Ibid.
03. Bossip Staff “You’re Not Black Enough! Mariah Carey’s Role As A Field Slave In Movie Causes Controversy ‘She Would Have Been In The House’.” is the premier destination for African American popular culture and entertainment, with a voice that’s edgy, viciously hilarious, politically aware-and completely unique. (
04. Professor Vernellia Randall, Hudgins v. Wrights (1806), “Race and Racism in American Law”, The University of Dayton School of Law (
05. Hudgins v. Wright (1806), Wikipedia (
06. Professor Vernellia Randall, Hudgins v. Wrights (1806), “Race and Racism in American Law”, The University of Dayton School of Law (
07. Lucian Minor, William Walter Hening, William Munford, “Reports of cases in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, from October 1806 to October 1809; and in the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District from September 1806 to February 1809”, page 119 (
08. W&M Digital Archive, Hudgins v. Wright Case Material (
09. Andrew Fede “Roadblocks to Freedom: Slavery and Manumission in the United States South” (
10. Ibid. “appeared to be white” (
11. Ibid. “Jackey’s mother, Phoebe Wilson” (
12. John Bailey, “Jefferson’s Second Father” ( and Quote: “Taylor told the court that he had witnesses ready to trace Jackey Wright’s lineage back through four generations to a woman called Butterwood Nan, an Indian.” (
13. Hudgins v. Wright, Background, Wikipedia (
14. Ibid.
15. Act XII, Laws of Virginia, December 1662, Hening, Statutes at Large, 2: 170, (
16. Hudgins v. Wright, Background, Wikipedia (
17. Ibid.
18. DNA Junction, “Friedrich Miescher — 1869 — By collecting and washing out bandages from a local hospital, Miescher isolated what he called the ‘nuclein molecule,’ named after the nucleus in which it was found. At the time, Miescher did not realize it, but he had isolated DNA. Later, it would be determined that the nuclein molecule present in all cells was actually DNA.” (
19. 23andMe, “Exceptions to the “One Drop Rule“? DNA evidence of African Ancestry in European Americans” (
20. Wythe Holt, “George Wythe: Early Modern Judge”, University of Alabama Law Review, Volume 58:5:1009, page 1032 “Phoebe’s daughter Jackey was “perfectly white” with blue eyes.” (
21. Ariela Julie Gross, “What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America” (
22. Angela Frank, “Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility”, page 13 ( See also Clenard Childress, “When Is A Racist A Racist?” (
23. Black Codes, Wikipedia (
24. Jim Crow Laws, Wikipedia (
25. Separate But Equal, Wikipedia (
26. Margaret Sanger, Wikipedia (
27. Ibid.
28. Racial Integrity Act of 1924, Wikipedia (
29. Carrie Buck, was a plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), Wikipedia (
30. Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Wikipedia (
31. San Diego Chargers, “Walter Hoye Passes Away” (
32. Henry K. Lee, “Pastor Jailed For Oakland Anti-Abortion Acts”, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer (
33. 2008 Presidential Election “National Exit Polls”, The New York Times , (
34. Daniel Greenfield, “One Graph That Shows Which Party Really Looks Like America”, FrontPage Magazine (
35. Betrayal Trauma Series, “Betrayal Trauma” is a theory that tries to predict the degree to which a negative event, perpetrated by a trusted and needed other, will influence the way events (past, present and future) are both processed and remembered. In this seven (7) part series I expose and explain the four (4) reasons why Black leadership struggles with the Pro-Life movement.” To read the series look in my newsletter archive for “Betrayal Trauma” under my 2011 columns (
36. Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference”, King James Version (
37. Jude 23, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”, King James Version (

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