Slavery is an ugly thing. If you listen to today’s Civil Rights Activists, or the Democrat Party, you would think that America was the only country to ever suffer from the curse of slavery. Professors shoving White Privilege down our throats force students to believe that only white Americans ever owned slaves. But the truth is, the first official slave owner in the colonies was a black man.
After the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, settled in 1607, many Europeans desired to travel to the New World for a new life. Usually poor and unable to pay their travel expenses, these adventurers accepted indentured servitude as a means to cover costs. In exchange for passage, people would agree to 7 years of service to their sponsor. During those years, they worked off their debt as a farmer or other such skilled worker. After fulfilling their commitment, they were released from their contract. Usually, their sponsors provided them with some food and supplies to get them started. In several cases, servants received a portion of the land they worked. But most importantly, they had their freedom and a skill to begin a new life for themselves.
While the program started out as voluntary, soon children and young adults were kidnapped and brought to America. King James II utilized the system to rid Europe of his political Irish enemies, including men and women. The Dutch purchased them so as to turn around and sell them into indentured servitude in America. For decades, the majority of indentured servants were white even after the first Africans were brought in 1619. Competing African tribes would capture and sell off their conquered enemies to Arab slave traders who brought them to America. Which is how an Angolan native called Antonio came to the New World in 1620. A Virginia tobacco farmer named Johnson bought his contract.
In 1640, on another plantation in Virginia, African indentured servant, John Punch, escaped along with two European servants. The three were captured in Maryland and returned. A Judge sentenced the two white men to four additional years of servitude along with 30 lashes with a whip. Punch also received a whipping but his contract was extended for the rest of his life. Not officially called slavery, some consider Punch the first American slave. Regardless, the judge’s ruling did set a precedent in the legal distinction between European and African servants.
Antonio and his wife, Mary, a fellow servant, completed their contracts and were free by the time the Punch incident occurred. A free black man, Antonio changed his name to Anthony Johnson. The couple obtained a plot of land in Virginia and added 250 acres in 1651 by sponsoring five black indentured servants, including their own son, Richard.
By 1654, one of Johnson’s servants, John Casor, fulfilled his contract but Johnson refused to release him. Johnson’s neighbor, Robert Parker, intervened and encouraged him to do the right thing. Johnson finally gave in.
Upon his release, Casor went to work for Parker. This infuriated Johnson, prompting him to sue Parker for stealing Casor. Two other servants of Anthony’s testified at the trial that Casor had indeed fulfilled his contract. Despite that, the court ruled Casor was in fact property, therefore owned by Johnson and returned to Johnson. This is the first case where the court declared a servant property, not just evoking lifetime servitude as a punishment, even though Casor committed no crime. It also made Johnson the first legal slave owner in the British colonies. A single judge’s decision began the transformation from indentured servants to lawful slavery in the colonies.
As the acceptance of enslavement grew, so did the ownership of slaves by other blacks. In 1830, over 3,700 black families in the South owned black slaves. According to the 1860 Census, in New Orleans alone about 3,000 slaves belonged to black households.
Slavery has never been limited to one specific race owning another. Slavery has been utilized by every race and every race has been enslaved. The harsh truth is that slavery has been infecting our world since the fall of man. Egyptians enslaved the Israelites in Northern Africa 3,000 years before Johnson obtained legal ownership of Casor. Many accept that slave labor erected the pyramids in Egypt.
Rome was built on the backs of slaves and could not function without them. Arab Muslims were involved in the slave trade since 650 A.D. Slavery existed within African tribes long before the Portuguese started the African slave trade in the 15th century. Even Christopher Columbus witnessed slavery amongst Native American tribes when he landed in 1492.
Johnson is a living example of Jesus’ parable about the Unmerciful Servant. (Matt 18:21-35) Johnson’s sponsor released him from his contract, but when it come his turn to release Casor, he refused. He used the court to make another indentured servant his property, similar the man in the parable throwing his fellow servant in jail. Also just like the parable, Johnson’s sin came back on him as well as the entire black population.
The 1655 court ruling helped set the stage for legal slavery and cement the distinction between the value of blacks and whites. As a result, due to the changing views on slavery and the African, blacks lost the equality they enjoyed just a short time ago.
Before the ruling, Johnson and his wife were declared, “inhabitants in Virginia (above thirty years)” and respected for “hard labor and known service.” By the time Johnson died in 1670, he was declared a non-citizen of the colony because he was a Negro foreigner, not an English subject. In less than 20 years, the first man, a black man, who sued to obtain legal rights over another human being was stripped of all his rights as a citizen of the colony. His actions not only brought slavery, but his own downfall. Losing his citizenship resulted in the loss of his vast estate. Instead of going to his children, it was awarded to a white settler.
Progressives have been white washing history since their leader, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, began reforming the education system. If Johnson had been white, everyone would know this story by heart. Since he was black, it is concealed or glossed over.
On the other hand, progressives purposely lie about our Founding Fathers, portraying them as racist bigots who loved slavery while hiding solid evidence to the contrary. At the same time, they completely ignore truly amazing accomplishments by blacks before 1964 and who aren’t progressive because it would destroy their narrative of the forever suppressed black community.
Fortunately, I love shattering the progressive agenda. As Jesus says, “The truth shall set you free.”
But that’s just my 2 cents.