In addition to relaying her confession, Powell also said "Celia had claimed to act only from a desperate wish to end Newsom's sexual demands," according to a legal analysis."Slaves had the legal right to preserve their lives, even if the use of deadly force was required," the analysis says.
And the Post reported Missouri law at the time criminalized rape and allowed women to argue self-defense when fighting back.
UMKC's account said that Celia was not called as a witness during her trial.
The prosecution called William Powell, a neighbor of Newsom's who extracted a confession from Celia while a search party was out looking for his remains.
After the third pregnancy, at the urging of her boyfriend, she told the old slaveowner she would hurt him if he came back to rape her again. After waiting an hour to make sure Newsom was really dead, Celia lugged his dead body into the blaze of her fireplace, the UMKC account goes.
Not heeding her warning, "Newsom crept into her cabin and tried to force her to have sex with him" in June 1855, the Post reported. The following morning, she smashed Newsom's burnt bone fragments to dust and carried them out into the yard along with the ashes from the fire.
The story of a Missouri slave who clubbed her rapist owner to death after he crept into her cabin in 1855 has entered the national discussion about sexual assault.
A legal analysis of the case concludes that Celia's attorneys "seem to have given the most vigorous defense possible."The jury of 12 white men — several of whom owned slaves, according to UMKC — was instructed by the judge that if the facts above were true, first-degree murder was committed — even if Newsom went to Celia's cabin intending to rape her.
Historian Richard Follett analyzes two narratives of slavery: an investigative report written by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1853 for the New York Times and Solomon Northrup's book Twelve Years A Slave.
He discusses each document separately and then compares their very different perspectives on slavery in Louisiana's sugar growing parishes.
A subsequent investigation led to Celia first denying she knew Newsom's whereabouts, though questioning induced her to admit the old man had visited her cabin for sex the night before.
In her retelling, she struck him through her window, preventing him from entering.