African American History – 16th Century Indentured Servants   Leave a comment

I think to understand the full extent of African American history and culture, you would have to go back to the beginning.  And, there was a ‘before’ the times of the life sentence of becoming a slave.   In order to address slavery as a whole, you would need to embrace the various components such as slavery, reconstruction, the development of African American communities, the participation of African Americans in military conflict, segregation and eventually, the Civil Rights movmement.
Let us start with the beginning of the first actual recordings of  Africans in British North America who arrived in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia as indentured servants.  Being an indentured servant was not a life sentence, in fact, although your beginnings were extremely humble, you did earn your freedom.  They were very much like the English settlers who traded many years of hard work in exchange for passage to freedom.
In order to gain freedom, Africans raised crops and cattle.  They lived amongst themselves in communities, marrying other Africans and sometimes there was inter-racial marriage with Native Americans or English Settlers.  Now here is the difference between an indentured servant and a slave.  An indentured servant had the opportunity to thrive, and by the 1640’s and 50’s, several African families owned farms around Jamestown and became wealthy by colonial standards.

Posted February 22, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Slavery

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