The term race once meant any group of people with a common ancestor. But, by the late 17th century, it had taken on a new meaning as that of skin color. In 1682, the Maryland Assembly passed an anti-miscegenation law that, for the first time, designated a category of people using the term “white.” We will discuss with Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander how this novel legal terminology changed the course of history and how it continues to affect us in the 21st century.
Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norfolk State University in Norfolk VA. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, and the College of William & Mary. Dr. Newby-Alexander was the Project Director of the 1619 Conference Series.