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Virginia Assembly punishes a white man for being in a relationship with a free Black woman.

Date: 1630


On September 17, 1630, the Virginia Assembly sentences Hugh Davis, a white man, to be punished by whipping for having a relationship with a Black woman. In its records, the assembly asserts that Mr. Davis “abus[ed] himself to the dishonor of God and shame of Christians, by defiling his body in lying with a 'Negress'.”

Mr. Davis is sentenced to public whipping in front of an audience of Black people, which some historians argue is intended to convey the strength of the religious and social prohibition of interracial relationships to the newly arrived Black population. The punishment is meant to make an example out of Davis, who is perceived as being a "race traitor."