Not guilty!

by Lisa Y. Henderson

A Coroner’s Inquest was held on Sunday last, on the dead body of a new born colored infant, found half-buried in a ditch, in a frequented part of the City. The verdict of the Jury was, that the child was born alive, and inhumanely killed by its unnatural mother, a free woman of color, named MARTHA DICKINSON.

The North Carolina Star (Raleigh), 29 January 1845.



No case involving life was taken up before Wednesday, when MARTHA DICKINSON (a free woman of color) was tried for the murder of her new-born child. The Prosecution was conducted by the Attorney General, and the Defence by C.C. BATTLE, Esq. There was no doubt, from the evidence, whether the child died from violence or neglect, and the Jury, after remaining out several hours, returned a Verdict of Not Guilty!

Weekly Raleigh Register, 4 April 1845.