Black American History #2: Slavery in the Colonies

Crash Course: “In the 17th century, as the British colonies in the Americas were getting established in places like Jamestown, VA, the system of chattel slavery was also developing. Today, we’ll learn about the role that slavery played in early American economy and how slavery became a legally accepted practice in the first place, and how it contributed to the colony’s early economic success. We’ll look at the experiences of Anthony Johnson and John Punch to see how legal precedents that greatly influenced the development of slavery were set.” Transcript.

Excerpts to provide hyperlinks:

“In the future United States, in what is now the state of South Carolina, a Spanish Magistrate, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, founded the colony of San Miguel de Gualdape in 1526 with an unknown number of enslaved Africans. (Click on the link to learn about the museum in Columbia, SC.) But the colony was a failure.”

“Some historians suggest the Africans fled to the Guale Indians and set up their own colony.”

“Nearly a century later, 20-30 captured Africans, or the “20 and odd Negroes” as they were referred to, arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619.”

“It is the arrival of this group that has come to represent the origins of chattel slavery in the United States, because they were the first to arrive to an English colony, a colony that would, a century and a half later, become the United States. These captives would become instrumental to the success of the Jamestown colony, which succeeded where previous colonies had failed.”

Atlantic Creoles“: a mixed-race ethnic group of Americans who have ancestral roots in Africa, Europe and sometimes the Caribbean.

In 1622, the Powhatan Indians launched an attack on the Bennett family plantation. Details on the massacre. “Antonio was owned by the Bennetts and was one of the few survivors of the attack. He was later commended for his “hard labor and known service.” The Bennetts then granted Antonio, who would change his name to /Anthony/ Johnson, permission to farm independently on his own land even though he was still enslaved.”

Anthony Johnson (b.c. 1600- died 1670), a black Angolan who achieved wealth as one of the first African American property owners. He had his right to legally own a slave recognized by the Virginia courts.

Clint Smith’s book is “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America.”

John Punch case of 1640. He was an enslaved African who lived in the colony of Virginia. Thought to have been an indentured servant, Punch attempted to escape to Maryland and was sentenced in July 1640 by the Virginia Governor’s Council to serve as a slave for the remainder of his life. Wikipedia

 In 1662, the Virginia General Assembly adopted the legal doctrine of “partus sequitur ventrem,” the Latin meaning of which was “That which is born follows the womb.” Children born of an African mother would be enslaved forever. Googled. Wikipedia.

Related:

African Americans Who Made History

What If Race-based Slavery Did Not Exist?

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