Elizabeth Key was a principal in one of the important early court
cases that shaped the evolving law
of slavery in seventeenth-century Virginia. Born to a mother of African descent and her white owner,
Thomas Key, she was transferred to another owner in 1636 for a designated period of
nine years. She remained in service for well beyond that period, marrying a white man
in the meantime and converting to Christianity. Upon the death of a third owner, Key
. . .
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