Jessica Lowe is the author of Murder in the Shenandoah: Making Law Sovereign in Revolutionary Virginia published by Cambridge University Press in 2019. Murder in the Shenandoah follows the criminal case against John Crane, a member of a prominent Virginian family, for the murder of a harvest worker employed by a neighbor. Lowe’s book looks at the pressing debates of the time over what equality before the law meant. By telling the story through the eyes of those involved in the case, Lowe illustrates how revolutionary debates about law became a central issue in the early years of the United States.
Dr. Lowe teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law, and specializes in 18th and 19th-century American legal history.
Derek Litvak is a Ph.D. student in the department of history at the University of Maryland.
Derek Litvak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland—College Park. His dissertation, "The Specter of Black Citizens: Race, Slavery, and Citizenship in the Early United States," examines how citizenship was used to both bolster the institution of slavery and exclude Black Americans from the body politic.