|A Different Flesh |
POD: C. 2.5-1.3 million years ago;
Relevant POD: c. 1492
|Appearance(s):||"Though the Heavens Fall"|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||Federated Commonwealths of America|
|Date of Birth:||c. 1774|
|Spouse:||Margaret Douglas (d. 1802)|
Alfred P. Douglas was a lawyer in Portsmouth, Virginia Commonwealth. In 1805, he represented runaway slave Jeremiah, who'd formerly been in Douglas' employ. That case proved to be a landmark in the Federated Commonwealths of America's history, as Douglas put the institution of slavery on trial, and dealt it a fatal blow.
When Jeremiah entered Douglas' employ in 1804, Douglas had already established himself as a competent and respected attorney in Portsmouth. His wife Margaret had died two years before, and subsequently, Douglas had allowed his office and his home to fall into disrepair. He hired Jeremiah as a manservant, and, impressed with his skills, encouraged the slave to read the law. Douglas did not know that Jeremiah had run away, although he may have suspected it.
The truth about Jeremiah came to light when another attorney, Zachary Hayes brought his apprentice Caleb Gillen, to Douglas's office. Gillen's father, Charles, had been Jeremiah's owner. Rather than surrender Jeremiah, Douglas decided to take the case to trial.
Douglas decided not to argue the validity of the Gillens' specific claim to Jeremiah. Rather, he put the whole institution of slavery on trial, arguing that it was built on the false assumption that people with dark skin were somehow less than human. To illustrate his point, Douglas pointed to the sims, true non-humans, and demonstrated how Jeremiah was more like whites than he was the sims.
Douglas persuaded two of the three judges in the case. Jeremiah went free, and slavery began its path to extinction.