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First slave owner in early United States was a black man

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08/24/2014 12:53 PM
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First slave owner in early United States was a black man
Things you won't learn in history class...

The first legal slave owner, in what would eventually become the United States, was a black man. The man was Anthony Johnson. Johnson first came over to America as an indentured servant, arriving in 1620 in the Colony of Virginia.

He owned several other black men as slaves including having several white men as "indentured servants" which white men were considered "Christian" servants & slaves while black men were left without such an additional title.

While Johnson is generally considered by most historians to be the first legal slave owner in what would become the United States, there was one person who preceded him in 1640 who owned a slave in all but name. The virtual slave was John Punch, ordered to be an indentured servant for life, though by law was still considered an indentured servant with all the rights that went with that. In Punch’s case, he was made a lifelong indentured servant owing to the fact that he tried to leave before his contract was up. When he was captured and brought back, the judge in the matter decided a suitable punishment was to have Punch’s contract continue for the rest of his life.

The first Africans to be imported to the Americas were brought over in the 1560s, primarily in areas controlled by Spain. The English colonies did not start importing Africans until much later, around 1619, just a couple years before Anthony Johnson was brought over. The first group to the British colonies were imported to Jamestown and comprised of 20 Africans who had been aboard a Spanish ship that was attacked by a Dutch vessel. After the Dutch crew successfully took over the Spanish ship, they were left with 20 Africans who they took to Jamestown and declared were indentured servants, trading them for supplies.

[link to www.todayifoundout.com]

[link to www.ocf.berkeley.edu]

The "Slave" "Slav" etymology comes from the Slavic language with first reference to white Slavic men held as indentured servants.

The derivation of the word slave encapsulates a bit of European history and explains why the two words slaves and Slavs are so similar; they are, in fact, historically identical. The word slave first appears in English around 1290, spelled sclave. The spelling is based on Old French esclave from Medieval Latin sclavus, “Slav, slave,” first recorded around 800. Sclavus comes from Byzantine Greek sklabos (pronounced sklävs) “Slav,” which appears around 580. Sklavos approximates the Slavs' own name for themselves, the Slovnci, surviving in English Slovene and Slovenian.

[link to foreigndispatches.typepad.com]

With the African American communities cite the mistreatment of their distant ancestors as reasons for their current social situation, why is that white people of Slavic descent don't claim the same status? While slavery of any ethical race is unacceptable, what exactly is the basis of the black community have when practically members of all races have endured the issue of their ancestors at one time being enslaved to another man?