A trial here would be a mere mockery.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

State vs Furnifold Jurnigan   }  Selling a person of mixed blood.

The Solicitor maketh oath that he does not believe the State can have a fair trial in this County; this matter has been the subject of conversation in the County, and the defendant by the influence of several men of standing has made it much the matter of general discussion, and has as the Solicitor is informed, so many on the Court yard, in his favour, that it would be a mere mockery to enter upon this trial in Wayne.  Edw. Stanly Solicitor  Sworn to before me in Open Court this 6th of April 1837.  N. Washington Clk.

In 1837, Furnifold Jernigan was indicted for selling Betsy Dinkins, a free woman of color. In the three years prior Jernigan and at least four co-defendants appeared on the Wayne County docket ten times on charges of selling free negroes, but never went to trial. As a result of the state’s solicitor’s complaint to the judge, the case was ordered removed to Greene County, but never appeared on the docket there.  Records Concerning Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Records of Wayne County, North Carolina State Archives.