The Case of the Headless Baby: Did Interracial Sex in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Lead to Infanticide and the Earliest Habeas Corpus Petition in America?

Zipporah’s unique struggle is such a case. It has no docket number or minute book entry, is tactfully ignored by the diarists and letterwriters of the day, but tells its tale through a few depositions, an inquisition post mortem, and a hastily scrawled request from jail— arguably the earliest habeas corpus petition in America—signed with New England’s first known mark of a free African woman.

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