The First Slave

anthony-johnsonAnthony Johnson first came over to America as an indentured servant, arriving in 1620 in the Colony of Virginia.  He did not come over willingly, as many did, agreeing to become indentured servants in exchange for passage to the New World. Rather, Johnson was captured in Angola by neighboring tribesmen and eventually sold to a merchant who transported him to Virginia, where he was then sold to a tobacco farmer.

Despite this, Johnson was not technically a slave by the definition of the term in his era.  He was simply required to serve the farmer for a time in exchange for room and board.  However, like slaves, indentured servants could be sold or lent out to someone else, and, for the most part, they could be punished how those that owned their contracts saw fit.

One of the biggest differences between slaves and indentured servants was that once the indentured servant’s contract was up, depending on the agreement made with the person paying for transport, often the former servant would be given some small compensation for their services to help them get their start as free individuals.  This might include some amount of land, food (often a year’s worth), clothing, and tools.

During their time serving, indentured servants also typically learned some trade as they worked, which was significant for many who chose to make the journey to the Americas as indentured servants- often poor, uneducated individuals, lacking a trade, and in search of the promise of a better life.  Because of this, in the early days, most indentured servants in the British colonies in America were actually Irish, English, German, and Scottish, rather than African.

Johnson, of course, didn’t choose to come over. Nevertheless, once in America, he toiled away as a tobacco farmer for the duration of his contract.  During this time, he also met a woman (soon to be his wife) named simply “Mary”, who had been brought over to America about two years after Johnson, with her contract also being purchased by the same man who owned Johnson’s contract.

In 1635, after working on the tobacco farm for about 14 years, Johnson was granted his freedom and acquired land and the necessaries to start his own farm.  Sources are conflicting on whether he purchased the remaining years on his wife’s contract or whether she completed it, but in the end, the two, with their lives now their own, began working for themselves.

They soon prospered and took advantage of the “headright” system in place for encouraging more colonists, where if you paid to bring a new colonist over, whether purchasing them at the docks or arranging it before hand with someone, you’d be awarded 50 acres of land.  Similarly, those who paid their own passage would be given land under this system.

This leads us to 1654. One of Johnson’s servants, John Casor who was brought over from Africa, claimed he was under a “seaven or eight yeares” contract and that he’d completed it. Thus, he asked Johnson for his freedom.

Johnson didn’t see things this way, and denied the request. Despite this, according to Casor, Johnson eventually agreed to allow him to leave, with pressure supposedly coming from Johnson’s family who felt that Casor should be free.  Thus, Casor went to work for a man by the name of Robert Parker.

Either Johnson changed his mind or he never said Casor could go, because he soon filed a lawsuit against Parker claiming that Parker stole his servant, and that Casor was Johnson’s for life and was not an indentured servant.

Johnson ultimately won the case, and not only did he get his servant back, but Casor became Johnson’s slave for life as Johnson had said he was.  This officially made Johnson the first legal slave owner in the British colonies that would eventually become the United States. (There were other slaves before this in the Americas, many actually, just not ones that were legal in the British colonies under common law).

The judge’s decision on the matter was announced as follows:

This daye Anthony Johnson negro made his complaint to the court against Mr. Robert Parker and declared that hee deteyneth his servant John Casor negro under the pretence that said negro was a free man. The court seriously consideringe and maturely weighing the premisses, doe fynde that the saide Mr. Robert Parker most unjustly keepeth the said Negro from Anthony Johnson his master … It is therefore the Judgement of the Court and ordered That the said John Casor Negro forthwith returne unto the service of the said master Anthony Johnson, And that Mr. Robert Parker make payment of all charges in the suit.

About 7 years later, Virginia made this practice legal for everyone, in 1661, by making it state law for any free white, black, or Indian, to be able to own slaves, along with indentured servants, as they’d been able to have before.

While Johnson’s temporarily gain of being granted the services of one of his indentured servants for life no doubt had a positive affect on his thriving business, ultimately the gradual changing of attitudes in the colonies concerning slavery and race came back to hurt Johnson’s family, with slavery slowly becoming less about one’s original financial situation and more about where you or your ancestors were originally from.

When he died in 1670, rather than his thriving plantation going to his children, the court declared that “as a black man, Anthony Johnson was not a citizen of the colony” and awarded the estate to a white settler. Quite a contrast to the declaration in 1654 by the court that Johnson and his wife were “…inhabitants in Virginia (above thirty years) [and respected for] hard labor and known service.”

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Bonus Facts:

  • While most of the land in Johnson’s estate was taken away, his children were allowed a small portion of Johnson’s former property to use to provide for themselves, but even that 40 acres was lost by Johnson’s grandson, John Jr., when he was unable to pay his taxes one year.
  • While Johnson is generally considered by most historians to be the first legal slave owner in the British colonies that 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.
  • What makes Punch’s case even more interesting (and unfair) is that when he ran away, he ran away with two white indentured servants who were also seeking to get out of their contract.  The punishment for the white indentured servants was not a lifetime of servitude, though.  Rather, they were given 30 lashes with a whip and a mere additional 4 years on their contracts.
  • The average price for bringing an indentured servant over to America in the 17th century was just £6.  Meaning that under the headright system, as long as you could afford to feed, clothe, and house them, you could acquire 50 acres of land for just over £1 per 10 acres.
  • The first Africans to be imported to the Americas were brought over in the 1560s, primarily in areas controlled by Spain.  The English colonies didn’t 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.
  • In Virginia, in 1662, legislatures enacted a law stating that if you owned a slave, not only were they yours for life, but any children of a slave mother would also be a slave, regardless of whether the father was a slave or not.  Before this, the father’s status was typically what was used to determine the child’s status, regardless of race or the mother.
  • A further change of the laws came in 1670 when a law was passed forbidding those of African or Indian descent from owning any “Christian” slaves.  In this case, this did not necessarily mean literal Christian slaves; if you had a black or Indian slave who was a Christian, that was fine, as they were black or Indian, and thus “heathen”, regardless of what they said or believed or even if they were baptized.
  • A further hardening of the laws came in 1699. In an attempt to get rid of all the prominent free black people, Virginia enacted a law requiring all free black people to leave the colony, to further cement the majority of free people in the colonies as non-black, and allow the tyranny of the majority with respect to those of African descent to progress unhindered.  Many did not have the funds to actually leave, and some chose to ignore the decree, as relationships between whites and free blacks tended to be as you’d expect humans to act towards one another, namely somewhat friendly in many cases; this included some intermarrying, despite the fact that to some extent this was discouraged even then, primarily because Africans were considered “heathens”.  Obviously those either from Africa or of African descent who had married someone of European descent weren’t inclined to leave their spouses and homes. In fact, it’s estimated that about 80% of all those non-slaves of African descent in the United States between 1790 and 1810 were a product of this intermarrying in the Virginia colony.
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  • but this is black-on-black slavery, and thus, is not to be commented on.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @daryl: The progression from the point where slavery / indentured servitude was more to do with class distinction, rather than race or color of skin or the like is the part I think is incredibly fascinating. Had those from various African nations been the majority of the populace in the Americas very early on, and able to easily defend their borders from the European powers as well as capture various Europeans to bring over, it would seem somewhat likely that it may have gone the other way with the whites ending up the slaves, as it was a case where there was a HUGE shortage of labor yet people became uncomfortable with their fellow countrymen being slaves. The captured and imported Africans provided an easy solution and color of skin provided a simple identifying dividing line.

      To get around the fact that it was morally reprehensible, the whole “heathen” thing was pushed, even though early on European missionaries were trying to convert the Africans. But then it became the general attitude that they couldn’t be Christians in some circles. Eventually additional de-humanizing tactics were gradually incorporated more and more. So, in the end, the tyranny of the majority ruled the day. But it’s just fascinating because the history books in the U.S. education system tend to paint it slightly differently, with the malice you see during the Civil War in the South particularly, being the way people acted all the time previous to that towards Africans. While there was certainly some of that, particularly with upper class attitudes towards them, among the lower classes, this wasn’t generally the case, with much socializing and intermarrying in the colonies as noted. (They were all just struggling for survival in the early days, so were more close knit.) It took about a century to gradually shift popular attitude to the sickening depth it eventually became, with the push being pretty much just about the fact that cheap labor was needed.

      So I’m not sure if that’s a testament to the fact that while people tend to look down on cultures not their own, people are basically good, but need to be taught to hate, or if it’s even more disturbing that people’s attitudes were manipulated so easily and on such arbitrary lines like what continent you are from and skin color, to do things that they normally would have thought extremely immoral. Whatever the case, the whole thing is a fascinating look at human psychology and the progression of American history.

      • A very fascinating article Daven, obviously very, very well researched. How many other facts about this abhorrent part of human history are we unaware of I wonder?

        • Daven Hiskey

          @Mod: Many, and others just as abhorrent, even more recently. For instance, when the U.S. government intentionally killed over 10,000 U.S. citizens simply because they liked to drink alcohol. And it should be noted that it wasn’t even illegal to drink alcohol at that time, just to sell, transport, or manufacture it. There are even Congressional records where many thought the program should be ramped up. This wasn’t even that long ago, relatively speaking. I find it incredibly fascinating how quickly we as humans forget such things. Although, I’m not complaining. I make my living off researching and writing about things like this. If everyone was well versed in these things, I’d be out of a job. 🙂

      • For once slavery should be put into perspective. Slavery existed throughout human history in all parts of the world. It still exists in the “undeveloped world”. It was western civilization in the 18th century that banned slavery. Keep in mind that even most American Indian tribes kept slaves, some white. So if you want to agonize about slavery, fine. But quit acting like it was solely an American practice.

        • no!! slavery in American was a lot different from other race that had slave so don’t get that twisted. we as black people went through soooooo much because we were BLACK!! and you know that is true, no other race went through what we went through and still we face racist whites people everyday.

          • The jews were in bondage way before the blacks or any indentured servants. As well suffered way more than any other people

          • Tee, blacks owned slaves too. And free blacks were able to use slaves to be quite successful in the “white economy” right up to the civil war.

          • Take a look at the middle east at what ISIS is doing to tiny Christian girls of 5 and 6 years old being sold into slavery.
            To grant yourself the biggest victim in the history of mankind is really a stretch.
            The Indians made slaves out of each others defeated tribes.
            That is what tribal warfare does. It is seen as more humane than slaughtering everyone and very practical.
            Africa is still selling slave to the middle east.
            The Muslims took more that a million slaves from Europe.
            Pick up a book and read about it.
            Oh and the Irish were slaves into the colonies before blacks were for the crime of being Catholic.
            Google Irish slave trade.

          • We as black people is an excuse. The American Indian went through more. When you refuse to educate yourself you prove your wish to attend the pity party. Blacks have been free for a hundred years. Slavery does not have squat to do with today. Most blacks don’t know their true heritage. They assume Africa is their ancestral home when it’s really Jamaca or the west Indies. Being vengeful towards me for bullshit from 200 years ago is soooooooo wrong on so many levels. The best revenge is to exceed.

          • It doesn’t matter how you look at it, slavery is still slavery and it never been good for those who were kept in bondage. Those who keep crying about the White man owns them everything is full of cow shit up to their eyeballs. No one owes then nothing because you have been free along with your parents and grandparents. So, suck the snot up your nose and start making a positive difference in your life. Stop depending of someone else to support your lazy ass. If you want to live free start thinking free in your head. I am Irish, Dutch and Cherokee, look how the Irish, Dutch and Cherokee were treated during that time period. The Blacks got the best deal and don’t even know it. Look where your family was brought from. Where would you be today if you were still there? Most likely you could be dirt poor or worst dead. Now look at the Indians who was here when those sorry ass British came here. They were in the multi-millions and what happened to them? The racist British pulled the biggest genocide of world history on the Indians. They hated the Indians so much they wanted to wipe them off the face of the earth. Look where most of them have to live….reservations. Some do leave to find a better life. So, when Black people start to cry wows me, need to stick a sock in their mouths. They have the opportunity to get a great education, but some drop out in middle school. On reservations they don’t have what the Blacks get. So, shut up and change your life because you are not a slave and you have opportunities. The only one making you a slave is YOU. You are the slave of the Federal Government and don’t even know it.

          • Were you or have you ever been a slave? No you have not. Sick of everyone not wanting to deal with the truth white people were the first true slaves. Not every black person is African American cause not all came from Africa. Blame the Spaniards for bringing African men, women and slaves to what is now known as America. Black people owned slaves as well whether they were black or white. The problem with the world is everyone even white people don’t know their history and want to blame the white people for slavery when it in fact as stated before was the Spaniards. My blood line has a history of my Irish ancestors being slaves yet I have never been a slave. In today’s modern world you make the decision whether or not you want an education, a job, a home or to be a bum. I have many black friends that have great jobs, beautiful homes and are well educated cause they wanted to thrive.

          • Republican forever

            There have been slaves since the beginning of time and you were never a slave. Quit your whining .

        • We don’t agonize about slavery. We ask that you recognize that it was solely an American practice to legislate laws that criminalized reading , writing, speaking of common languages, marriage, schools, ownership of property, racial intermarriage, looking whites in their eyes, use of public facilities, and everything else that would in any way allow the slave to think that they were human or equal to whites. Even to the point of legally defining what constituted being black by drops of blood. We don’t agonize about slavery, just the things that gave whites more than a leg up and continue to help maintain that gap.

          • Hats off to you Daven for a well researched article and kudos to Aron for his insightful reply on agonizing. I would like to add that “racist attitudes” existed among many of the “powers to be”, prior to the case of Johnson vs. Parker and Casor. The judge in that case was only following
            “presidence” This is even evidenced, by your acknowledging of the John Punch case 14 years prior; where two whites committing the same crime, at the same time and in the same case and circumstances, were not bound for life nor were their children and their children, which Aron did not point out. Nor was it pointed out by other’s, who sought to reply, that in none of the other cases of “Slavery”, were a people reduced to the level of “animals” and bred like animals, even to the extent where the discussion among the “Learned” bordered on whether they (the African) had souls. And that person who likened “Jewish oppression” to the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and subsequent enslavement, followed by years of Jim crow; (not to mention that the largest slave owners were Jews, as well as the boat owners and auction houses) is way off base.

        • Black slaves never served 400 years under the Indian tribes. Both white and Indian slave holders received reparations for their lost slaves, and Indians receive reparations even today. Chattel slavery kept slaves in bondage, generation after generation for almost 400 years, enduring slaughter and torture of human beings like they were less than cattle. In fact Hitler learned his torture techniques from American slavery. We don’t know about slavery in other lands, we only know that the blood of black slaves and free men paid for this nation’s freedom in the revolutionary war, civil war, WWI and WWII, all while black men , women and children were being burned alive and hung on trees. This country owes more to its black citizens than other foreign countries. Yet, other countries, including Israel, receive aid. Please don’t equate welfare with reparations because it’s open to everyone. Then you must be paying reparations to everyone in the country on welfare, and black people are being forced to share their reparations with the whole country, even wall street (free bail out money) a former slave market. It makes no sense.

          • I guess you missed all the Irish slaves in America. As to owing all blacks. Are you saying even the blacks that are marching and claiming America owes them a free living off the backs of ther relatives sweat that have no relatives in or near Africa EVER are owed something? Frankly NONE of them deserve anything. The only people that deserved anything were the actual slaves!

      • Sorry to burst your little bubble but long before there was a United States, the Dutch imported slaves into New Amsterdam.

      • Mr. Daven I tip my hat to you. Your response has been enlightening. My perspective on American history has shifted. Your response puts a face on the mysterious monstrosity of hate in this country.

      • This was a good read I just had a question, where are the Cites the information in this article?

      • Again, the government interfered & tried to divide us based on race. Same as today.

    • Bull, it is still slavery. It shows that blacks have been involved in slavery themselves as the masters. But, guess that is ok.

      • In this country, black people did not hold the majority of slaves. The trade was taken over mostly by white people and they benefitted the most from the wealth that was generated. They made all the laws.

    • …but these were not slave just cousins that were working for him and living in his outside houses

  • I hope the facts in the article are more authentic than the illustration. The man in the picture, who is wearing 19th century costume, cannot be Anthony Johnson, who lived 200 years earlier.

  • I’m not even going to read this. It cannot possibly be true. How did he come upon the whiteman’s name, being from Angola?

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Latifah Allah: Because upon arriving in America they were typically given new names, as also became common among voluntary immigrants later. As for his original name, that isn’t known. The first record of his name was simply “Antonio not given” in a census.

    • Latifah Allah. when slaves was finally freed they had no last name. they took the last names of their slave owners. many slaves refused to leave because they had no where to go.

    • Its very true that when a person arrived in the know land of what is now America, if they could not spell his name they gave him a new one that they could spell. It depended on where he would land when he came here. Even as late at 1550 when my great grandfather 8 times removed landed in Delaware, his name was changed from what ever it was to Stedman, Steadman, Stidham? I have never gotten his correct given name in research about him, not even from

    • Latifah Allah…and it would be narrowed mindedness such as yours that has kept blacks in the ghettos of the world. You only want to read and remember the “bad” things that happened to “Africans”. If you opened up long enough to read, you would see that there were many more white slaves of that period than black!

      • My Great Grand father was “indentured” from Ireland … after being “extended” 3 times … he changed his name … ran away to join the army (Union) and fight for freedom for all. So, yes … their were white slaves … many more … don’t know …

      • There was a difference between slavery and indentured servitude. The indentured servant was freed after completing the terms of their contact. Then they were given a parcel of land, tools and a years worth of food to build themselves a life. A slave was owned for life and any children born to them were slaves for life also. Whites were never slaves in America.

  • How long are we going to accept black history being written by white men. They are even going as far as take slavery out of text books taught in school, so that we may forget.

    • Jesse Jackson XXX

      Not only was Anthony Johnson the first legal slave master in the Colonies,, he also was a rich plantation owner in the Tide Water area of Virginia and owned a total of 5 human chattel-….– 4 of 5 being WHITE

      • If this is true what you said, what system of black supremacy was created from him owning whites 200 years later? Did Black people all of a sudden on masses of resources in the US? Did we have a control in writing the text books in school? First white people was putting Africans long into slave before Virginia doofus!

    • I agree that Black History should be taught along with US and World History, if not, we are leaving out a very important part of our past. I want to know about this history and what happened and where, when and how.

    • It is recorded in the archives in Virginia, which are in a museum, for anyone to see, so the court records speak themselves.

    • So are people saying whites had it as bad as we did ? Is that what they’re trying to tell me ? What about now do you still have it as bad as us ? When they control everything and mistreat , wrongfully incarerate , and even kill us in the streets in the name of justice ! Ok so you were stolen also whipped beyond all means and hung , but yet you feel you can sit next to me put your arm around my neck and say I understand it happened to me also !

      • What do you mean as ‘bad as we did’??? Are you a slave? Have you been enslaved??? The responses from a few folks on here trying to keep themselves victims of their color is ludicrous! Even presented with FACTS there are still far too many people denying the truth simply because it doesn’t allow them to continue under the charade of victimhood!! YOU are not now, nor have you ever been, a slave!!! Slavery is alive and well in this world, look at the children being raped and enslaved in young marriages in the Middle East! THEY are suffering, YOU are not! How about people of all ethnicities sold into sexual slavery?? My GOD people! ENOUGH!

      • Wow, James Ross, your words apply to you, as well. You are not now, nor have you ever been, a slave.

      • You don’t have any worse than anyone else in this county.slavery is part of your culture in africa,it’s a way of life over there,be honest and except the truth.your African brothers sold many of you to also said that you,blacks are being killed out there.have you ever understood it is because most blacks are lawless.the cops say put your hands behind your back to hand cuff them and they refuse and look what happens.sure there are cases that are wrong.I know because I was beaten by cops many years ago.and just think of many other races that also suffer Injustise.but you make sound that only black people suffer injustice and that is a lie.the Aztec killed and enslaved other Indians bu the thousands and the Spanish killed and enslaved Indians in africa,people there could learn from like nations,like greeks,the bible,and so on.Africans got their education from the animals and had no moral standards,that is why they killed one another and enslaved one another.that is why they could not prosper.they lived in the animal level,wild and so have chip on your shoulder like most black people do,you think people owe you something and they do a preacher said you were paid in full from all those soldiers who died to free the black people and white people who were enslaved and indians were also enslaved.and now you want to change America and the history of this want to be pushed to the front of the line,and distort the you wanna be James bond,he was never black.if you black people believe in God it said’s if you do not forgive people of their sins,then your heavenly Father will not forgive you of your eternal life means anything to you? Riots,looting,and everything else you do shows the level the people are in.this how I see it.I hope you have the knowledge and power of God to change ?

        • Many nations had slaves. We are living in America, and this is where we served our slavery, not Africa or anywhere else. There have been many injustices against American people, even by their government, but no group served 400 years of slavery other than the black race in America. The treatment of the slaves was so horrible, white people tried to scrub it from their history books, but all is being made known. You can’t escape your past, even though some of you want to hold on to the confederate slavery flag as though it was a proud day in history.

  • So John Punch was the first legal slave by practice and law.

    • July 9, 1640-Punishment for Runaway Servants

      [On July 9, 1640, members of the General Court decided the punishment for three servants-a Dutchman, a Scotsman, and an African-who ran away from their master as a group. The proceedings reveal an example of interracial cooperation among servants at a time when the colony’s leaders were starting to create legal differences between Europeans and Africans. John Punch became the first African to be a slave for life by law in Virginia.]

      Whereas Hugh Gwyn hath by order from this Board Brought back from Maryland three servants formerly run away from the said Gwyn, the court doth therefore order that the said three servants shall receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes apiece one called Victor, a dutchman, the other a Scotchman called James Gregory, shall first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures, and one whole year apiece after the time of their service is Expired. By their said Indentures in recompense of his Loss sustained by their absence and after that service to their said master is Expired to serve the colony for three whole years apiece, and that the third being a negro named John Punch shall serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere.

      Source: McIlwaine, ed., Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, p. 466.

  • GTFOHWTBS, who cares? when i was in school i was never taught about white slaves. so why should all that be in the books. all it does sis teach blacks how to hate and use the race card.

    • jane: it does not matter whether or not you were taught about white slaves. It is important to have all this history about slavery in the books because it tells the story of the many slaves- both white and black- who had never had a voice or a chance to tell their stories. It shows the people of today that it shouldnt be repeated and that all men are created equal. and about your comment “all it does sis teach blacks to hate and use the race card.”- you are completely wrong. Most blacks dont pull out the racial card at all unless they do meet “racists”. Sure back when slavery was legal they had a good damn reason to feel hate and anger towards white men. I totally agree with you GTFOHWTBS. Why do white men take slavery out of textbooks now? Because their ashamed and trying to forget about the events that occured. That is not the way to go. We need to move on and accept slavery as a terrible past incident that still occassionally happens today. We need to teach people now that everyone is created equal.

      • How come when white people say we must never forget 9/11 or any other horrific thing that involves a large amount of white people thats ok , but when slavery and domestic terrorist acts like what happened in Tulsa ,Ok black people are told to forget and move on like it never happened . Why is it ok for them to remember and constantly try to remind me of their pain and atrocities ,but I’m supposed to forget about mine . You got a lot of nerve!

  • Good read, but would be nic e if you added links. This is a factual part of history that is unknown to most. Most people are not even aware of where the term “slave” derives from,…. from white slaves. Both races were slaves, and whites were treated more harsh, then why do we have affirmative action? How many whites today are the decendents of slaves? Why are all movies only about black slaves, are they afraid of the repercussions of basing it on accurate history? I also read a while back that black and indians owned and sold many white slaves?? Why are liberals so afraid of this part of history? White libs think they are above it??

    • Two words Tyla: Demagogue Politics

    • Because it is easier to control people with lies. Much easier to blame the whites for everything known to man than to face responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.

      • When will white people shut up about how all their problems are the black man’s fault?

    • This article was meant to be informational and educational about history. It was not meant for idiots to use as a way to demean black Americans and expose them for being lazy victimized complainers or whatever narrative some of the idiots on this board are trying to portray. Some of the comments are about as ridiculous as I have ever seen. If you are talking about the advancement of blacks in this country…it takes generations to build wealth. 1. Do some research on the economic progression of whites for the last 400 years, especially the top percentages of income. People did not get rich right away and of course if you have free labor for 200 years that are passed from gen to gen then you can see why some families today are very wealthy. 2. As for the middle class and educational gap today, segregation ended 47 years ago. Let that sink in. Most of your parents were born into a time when blacks couldn’t use same facilities, anytime they built of towns and business they were burned, weren’t allowed to purchase homes a lot of the times, could hardly get business licenses, couldn’t vote, did not have access the best educations, etc…So that means that literally millions of families were poor and gave birth to poor kids. Now fast forward to 2016 and we now have more black wealth than ever, who will pass on to their kids and so on. We will get there as long as we keep moving forward. As for those idiots on here (if you’re not one Im not talking to you) that act like when slavery ended then blacks should have automatically caught up despite segregation and discrimination for the next 100 years after emancipation, stop trolling because you can’t be that stupid. Oh yeah America was not the first to end African slavery. Check the UK. And if you want to say whites ended slavery, well they also invented the KKK and legal segregation. So what’s your point?

  • Are we not all economic slaves at this instant? We all have to work, give a large portion away to the owner (government). If you think you are free, try going somewhere without any money.

    • Jason, Me and my friends have gone on several cash-free vacations as I like to call them. We have gotten free travel (hitchiking), free food (from genuinely nice people or churches that feed the hungry) and free lodging (from nice people or YMCA’s). It’s not that hard, all you have to do is be humble and polite. People never cease to amaze me by their kindness.

  • I’m black and have never heard this….Why? I recently learned about Africans involvement in the slave trade and the Irish slaves…We need to teach it all otherwise we will have a bunch of ignorant adults in society. I certainly look at slavery from a different perspective now.

    • Niki, please don’t be mislead by this story. It’s intent is to once again, deflect from the truth, and crucify black people. Anthony J [Hanson was a slave humself, kidnapped from Angola and sold to a tobacco farmer. They misconstrue the story by referring to him as an indentured servant, which we know is a softened word for slavery. His name is that of his master. Servants don’t change their names. His owner changed it because he was his property. I could go on and on, but please, take the initiative to research your own history. Don’t depend on what others try to manipulate you with.

      • You got to look at all facts, rather than cherry pick. I suggest research this on Wikipedia on your own. Indentured servants were a huge labor force at the time and he in fact was such a servant who did his time and then himself, as a free man, had servants and sued to keep a get a black servant to be his for life. Your conjecture of why he did it is hyperbole made up out of thin air, not found anywhere in research. How ridiculous is that? If you have the research go add to the wiki. All races are represented in this new medium going after the truth of any subject. You’re way too emotional and conspiratorial to be mentally balanced. Cognitive dissonance.

      • Amazing you and people like you live in one state. The state of DENIAL! There were plenty of free black men who owned slaves. The Richard family of Louisiana had a plantation of close to 200 slaves. Free blacks in all of the colonies especially in South carolina owned slaves. How is this information crucifying blacks? If anything it shows that we as blacks have the same mental capacity meaning reason and logic as the white man. Free blacks who owned slaves had the same reasoning as whites for owning them, TO EARN A PROFIT! Why is it so hard for black folks to understand this. Thats a problem with us as a people today. We cant see ourselves in our whole humanity. We have done good as a people and we have done bad. We cant continue to see ourselves as innocent victims we are not INNOCENT and we are not VICTIMS. It does not bother me one bit to know that we were slaveowners. In this case it might not be something to emulate but it is what it is. Is it a coincidence today that too many blacks label capitalism as evil as if it was equal to owning and selling slaves? An idea maybe someone can get Dr Henry Louis Gates of Finding your Roots to do a search on black slaveowners and find the black descedents of the slaves that were owned by blacks and start a reparations case against the black slave owner family. Now that would be somrthing to see!

      • Some here have equated indentured servanthood as another term for slavery. If that’s true, my white ancestors who came from Europe were enslaved as well. True enough none of us had or have money, or owned tobacco plantations, like the Al Gores of the world, so maybe it’s because we too were enslaved.

      • Yes, much easier to listen to the perpetual victim rather than historical facts. How and why the man was brought here is irrelevant when speaking of his owning of slaves himself. It was a choice, not a mandate.

    • Nikki, please don’t be dissuaded from exploring and learning the truth by being discouraged by people like Amazing. I learned what you have mentioned, and much more, starting as an undergraduate at UCLA thanks to the (then) Afro-American Research Library. The book there that opened my eyes was “Anti-racism in US History” by Herbert Aptheker. You can buy it on Amazon. There is a wealth of information online. It is shocking when you first hear it, there is a LOT to learn, but the truth is out there and thanks to the internet available to everyone.

    • Were you aware, that a black man, is responsible for slavery being made legal in this country.

    • The slavery of whites has nothing to do with america. Just like african slavery has nothing to do with american slavery. Jewish slavery isnt even proven facts its biblical history. Black people can actually say that they are direct descendents of slaves. Black slave owners were slaves as well. They really didn’t own shit. White people need to stop trying to rewrite history to spare theyre guilty consciences. If any of this were true then the civil rights movement and everything before it was just black people in denial. Quit trying to justify the crimes that white america has commited. This article clearly states that all other slavery going on in the british colonies was illegal exept for this one black man. Which means he was not administering the same kind of slavery. Blacks owning white slaves has never happened thats bullshit. What was his name and where is his fake as pictures. Tired of the lies.

      • This one black slaveholder, or any black slaveholder for that matter, can in no way represent the majority of slaveholders in America. In no way did black slaveholders own most of the slaves, wealth and property that was involved. It was mainly a white operation.

  • The actual name listed is Antonio, which is not an African name; it is a Portuguese and Italian name of Latin origin. He is said to be from Angola, where at that time a black Queen reigned over that empire. These people were actually what is miscalled today the Roman Empire. The first slaves in the empire were whites. If you research white slaves you will find a long history of white slavery on both sides of the Atlantic and white female prostitution in Australia and American during the 18th and 19th century. The White Slave Trade Act of 1910 was established to combat white female prostitution during the mass immigration, 28 million, from eastern Europe between 1880 and 1920. History is mangled to protect whites’ true past and origin.

  • What I find most fascinating, is the fact that they keep referring to this man as the first slave owner, when it is apparent he was a slave! The play on words like “he didn’t come over willingly” he was captured, like all the rest of the slaves before him! “Indentured servant working to pay his room and board” — he was sold to the man; and forced to be here. It is amazing how people are now trying to deflect from the wrong doings of slavery by trying to put it off as a black man owning the first slave, by throwing the word legal in there. The slave he fought to own was a family member he was fighting to get back from the White man who kidnapped him. He fought to make him his slave for life, to avoid having him sold and abused by a white man! Not his slave to use and abuse as was what slavery typically was. I am amazed!!

    • You’re be to emotional, indentured servitude play a huge part in the growing of early colonies. He was “captured” by his countrymen in Angola and when he got here, even if he desired freedom initially, he soon realized that he would be given land, tools and compensation when his contract was finished and took pride in his work. He became a very successful tobacco farmer and bought five servants (four of them white) to strengthen his business and he and his family lived comfortably until his death.

    • Also, where did you get this from:”The slave he fought to own was a family member he was fighting to get back from the White man who kidnapped him”?

      Where is there any proof of this?

    • No he was an indentured servant. His boss, paid for him to come to this country, and he had to work the cost of his passage, food, while on the ship off over a period of time. Some where from 7 TO 12 years, and this was the standard for all indentured servants.

    • Your ancestors had Slaves in Africa – i.e the Black Islamic Moors! Also, Whites have been Slaves throughout History – Genghis Khan, Atilla the Hun, Barbary Coast, Romans, Vikings, Celtic Tribes etc – I am sorry to say it is the Jewish Media that is responsible for all this Propaganda!

  • Oh you morons……do you where does term “slave” comes from?

    Slave=Slav=Slavic people. White as my hairless ass.

    In case you don´t know, Slavic people = Ex-Yugoslavia (Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia/Montenegro/Some Russians/Some Ukrainians)

    The orginal term is latin, from the Roman Empire, and the got a lot of slaves from that area back in that time.

    There´s been slavery since the man is man, no matter the color, no matter the harshness or indulgence, no matter what.

    Black/white/yellow whatever color you want to choose, none of them are innocent, since none of them are other than human, thus capable of such a thing.

    Oh, and I forgot…….Morons yet again.

    • Agreed, all humans are fallible, neither saints nor sinners can a group claim/be claimed to be.

    • Exactly right, that’s why calls for “so-called Reparations” are ludicrous, otherwise, i demand compensation for my enslaved “White” Ancestors!

      • You might have a point, except that white slaves could easily move into society after they were free. They had the protection of the government and the klan, as well, to keep black freed slaves from taking jobs. Also, they did not serve 400 years of generation after generation being slaughtered like cattle. This government takes black tax dollars and pays reparations to the Indians, Jewish people, Japanese, wall street, the Iraqis and other foreign nations. if it is wrong, why do they make black people pay it?

  • You people are so gullible to things you read on the INTERNET of all places . He most definitely was not the first legal slave owner in the US, this notion is utterly insane and can be disproved by a visiting a library or a research based college course . He was ONE OF THE FIRST BLACK PEOPLE TO OWN SLAVES in the colonies, but most definitely not the first slave owner. How is that even possible when he arrived as a slave himself, against his will?

    • Daven Hiskey

      @eddie: “most definitely not the first slave owner” Nobody said first slave owner. First known LEGAL slave owner in the British colonies. Certainly there were other slaves and given Johnson himself was brought against his will to serve as an indentured servant, by modern definitions as you’re using, we’d call him a slave, though they did not consider it such, all as noted in the article.

      • July 9, 1640-Punishment for Runaway Servants

        [On July 9, 1640, members of the General Court decided the punishment for three servants-a Dutchman, a Scotsman, and an African-who ran away from their master as a group. The proceedings reveal an example of interracial cooperation among servants at a time when the colony’s leaders were starting to create legal differences between Europeans and Africans. John Punch became the first African to be a slave for life by law in Virginia.]

        Whereas Hugh Gwyn hath by order from this Board Brought back from Maryland three servants formerly run away from the said Gwyn, the court doth therefore order that the said three servants shall receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes apiece one called Victor, a dutchman, the other a Scotchman called James Gregory, shall first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures, and one whole year apiece after the time of their service is Expired. By their said Indentures in recompense of his Loss sustained by their absence and after that service to their said master is Expired to serve the colony for three whole years apiece, and that the third being a negro named John Punch shall serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere.

        Source: McIlwaine, ed., Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, p. 466.

    • Slave implies being owned for life, with no recourse or rights and owed no compensation. All of these are rebutted by the facts of his arrangement and legal contract. It was the post middle-ages equivalent of feudalism, not an ideal working situation but he was nobodies property like slaves were.

    • These facts are in the court records in Virginia, and anyone can research them and see them, so its not just some junk, this is REAL FACTS.

  • Interesting Mathias is making up his own etymology of the word slave – where they heck did you get that history of the word… here try this Old English Wealh “Briton” also began to be used in the sense of “serf, slave” c.850; and Sanskrit dasa-, which can mean “slave,” apparently is connected to dasyu- “pre-Aryan inhabitant of India.” Grose’s dictionary (1785) has under Negroe “A black-a-moor; figuratively used for a slave,” without regard to race. More common Old English words for slave were þeow (related to þeowian “to serve”) and þræl (see thrall). The Slavic words for “slave” (Russian rab, Serbo-Croatian rob, Old Church Slavonic rabu) are from Old Slavic *orbu, from the PIE root *orbh- (also source of orphan), the ground sense of which seems to be “thing that changes allegiance” (in the case of the slave, from himself to his master). The Slavic word is also the source of robot.

    you people are trying to rewrite history – it just does not work that way

    • Augustina harker: Mathias is correct. You are dishonest. You cut and paste information from the online etymology dictionary, but you somehow *didn’t* bother quoting the first paragraphs that explain the derivation of slave from Slav: “slave (n.)
      late 13c., “person who is the chattel or property of another,” from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus “slave” (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally “Slav” (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.
      This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein]
      …there is more, followed by the unattributed quote you cut and paste. Here is the link to the full entry that you selectively borrowed without attribution:

    • No we actually read documents which, show that these things are true, they have just been left out of black history, so that blacks would keep blaming whites for slavery, when in fact a black, man caused legislation to be passed to allow everyone in the country to own slaves.

  • How is it that we can assume any part of a time we attach to what-we-want-to-see. Slavery is both physical and mental. I would like to think past the idea that one man started a “way of thinking”. Looking into political fixes we find many who stand out as though they were/are in control only to find they are dangling from many strings as a puppet with a master. This great find, as some of you would label it, tells very little of anything. Most major decisions started as simple moments of disclosures of “bright ideas”, which many times entailed future plans for the economy. It is sort of a simple way of looking at history to say- “here’s a guy who……..and was made the first slave owner.” Nothing in history has ever been that easy to dissect. What underlining story is missing here- we may never know. So we take the conduced version and add a photo. History is a passion of mine and I have yet to find a story that has no controversy to how it is being told. Which brings me back to my opening statement: “How is it that we can assume any part of a time we attach to what-we-want-to-see. “

    • Indentured servants were of all races, but mostly Whites at this time period in this countries history, with a few blacks. So, the facts and documents which still exists today in the court archives in Virginia show this facts, so its not made up stuff, these are TRUE facts. Sorry!

  • How can John Punch be sentence to “serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural life here or else where” and not be considered a slave? I am confused on how an Indentured Servant, could be that, for life. This is a full 15 years for Johnson-Casar case.

    • Because he refused to finish out his indentured period of time, which his boss had paid for, and it was a large amount of money, so when he ran off, his boss was out of that money, so the court took this as a break in contract Punch agreed to, so his punishment was severe.

  • Katherine Sommers

    I am interested in knowing more about the political make up of the Virginia State Legislature during the 1600’s. What political arm thought it was a good idea to establish and protect the right to own another person’s life and their children’s lives? Where’s a good place to find this info?

  • Lool post slavery it’s like white people do their best to come up with some sort of justification for what their ancestors did for example “their was slavery in Africa before Europeans came” (which was more arab slave owners than african) or like in this instance “they were doing it themselves” as it that somehow makes if justifiable. I was always under the impression that the first slaves were brought over to America about 1618-1619 so why do we then wait until 1635 until we’re declare someone as the first “slave owner” oh sorry I mean ‘legal’ slave owner… If that even makes sense! Also constantly bringing up the fact that whites enslaved so many whites only further proves the villainous mindset of the European. I’m sorry but I can see absolutely no reason for desperately trying to prove how Africans were slaves owners aswel other than to justify what was to come, I’m open to any replies. @ daven hisky

    • I think it is very significant to synthesize the information that is known and speculate about the unknowns.

      1. African slaves were stolen and or sold for their skills and this may explain why an African servant was more valuable than a non-African. The colonies were suffering from famine and Africans from certain countries were known for crops. The one that comes to mind is Sierra Leone for rice.

      That could explain why Antonio Johnson’s value dwindled and he was disinherited: as soon as the non-Africans learned to plant and tend to the land, they had no use for Africans. If the Africans and non-African indentured servants intermarried, they would overthrow those in power due to their strength in number. They would have the land, money and the power. The bread and circus: appease the non-Africans by giving them a higher social status and equal rights as those in power.

      2. Barbarians had slavery and that brutal form of slavery may have been adopted by the colonies’ practices of the evil institution. Slavery is inherently immoral and African slavery differed from Arab and other forms of slavery. I do believe that American slavery was unique because one was enslaved from cradle to grave (infants to elders). Arabs were known for manumission upon conversion to Islam.

      3. Arabs inherit servants. Tahir Shah, a travel author who moved to Morroco, mentioned how he inherited servants with his newly purchased home. This seems to be in line with persons being bequeathed to another person. This only applied to Africans and their descendants in the US.

      4. Slavery was the official policy of the Federal government and that of several states’. Even though the word slavery is not mentioned in the US Constitution, it is implied in the Articles by “all other persons”, three-fifths, and “migration”. Amistad, Dred Scott, Plessy, and other U.S. Supreme Court cases institutionalized slavery. It was African race-based and perpetuated. The color “black” replaced African because a nationality would humanize chattel and give that particular nation an interest in its people.

      Slavery was not allowed under English Commom Law and that is also what adds value to this post. There is a US court case in which the Africans were freed because English Common Law could not allow slavery. Positive Law under the U.S. Constitution and other states’ codified slavery.

      5. Some freed people of African descent did buy their family and others to free them. Those who adapted to capitalism would have purchased slaves for profit.

      Thanks to the author and those who commented.

    • Just like black people are always blaming white people for anything and everything wrong in their lives, this just shows, that blacks only want to hear the parts of history that makes them the victim, whether that had a hand in what happened to them back the. Anthony Johnson cause legislation to be changed so everyone could own slaves. Before he went to court in 1651, there was only indentured servants, of all races, but after he had John Casor made his life slave, slavery was made legal 7 years later.

      • White people are always the victims of black people being victims of white people being victims of black people being victims……….

    • Simple. Because without including the complicit nature of everyone involved in the history of slavery, we are tethered to demonizing whites in America as the singular reason for slavery and in doing so, become the hypocrites and the racists.

    • I know the truth hurts, but Blacks had lots of Slaves in the Middle Ages – i.e the Moorish Islamic Empire! Where is the Reparations for people like me? Also, as Farrakhan pointed out – Jews controlled the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade!

  • actually Johnson was not the first legal slave. The man name was Punch. He came over as an indentured. But he and two other white indentured decided to run away. When caught, the white men received two more years of service, but Punch, he received a lifetime of servitude, which made him the first legal slave.

    • No Punch was punished for running away from his indentured boss, causing him to be out a huge amount of money, he put out to bring Punch to this country, then Punch decided he was not going to work out his indentured time period and ran away, which caused the courts to make his punishment severe, to show other indentured servants, what would happen if anymore of them decided to follow Punch’s example, and what would happen to them.

      • This is another conservative myth. The first slaveowner was Hugh Gwyn, a wealthy white landowner, a justice, and a member of the House of Burgesses, representing Charles River County (which would become York County in 1642). John Punch was his indentured servant who was sentenced to a life of servitude as punishment for running away in 1640. It was the first time anyone had been sentenced to servitude for life. That ruling essentially made him a slave @dktumlinson. Duh.

        But even if it was true, so what??? It doesn’t excuse what white Americans have done to blacks ever since they were brought here. White people enslaved other white people for eons; so did Africans. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        What happened in the U.S. was different. American slaveowners bred their slaves like animals. They fornicated with their slaves, raping young girls, against their will. For example, in 1850, landowner Robert Newsom of Missouri purchased a fourteen-year-old girl named Celia. Over the next five years, Newsom would force the teenager to have sex on demand. Disgusting freakin’ pedophile. The sexual assaults continued, even when she was pregnant. Celia begged Newsom to leave her alone, at least through her pregnancy, but the slave owner was unreceptive. The last time he tried to rape her, she killed him.

        And a handful of black slave owners doesn’t outweigh this country’s history of racism, empire, and genocide. Or institutional racism, which is alive and well today. You conservatives always use this argument as your excuse. You’re not only wrong – you’re insensitive as hell. And you call yourselves Christian. What a joke.

  • Sorry, not falling for the Okie-Doke here. We’re supposed to believe it just because you write it? No. The last thing I’m going to do is believe this or buy some book written by someone who doesn’t have my best interest at heart. If this article had been written by a respected, reputable African-American History Scholar, eg Dr. Jeffries, Dr. Clark et al, it would be 1. Believable, 2. Worth spending time researching. There’s enough authentic history for me to catch-up on, written by AfricanAmerican History scholars. My wife and I each hold 2 college degrees, have very busy lives/careers and 3 children- 2 play futbol at a high level (one at 2 different clubs, 1 runs track, 1 dances and swims, 2 in orchestra. My time is important and limited. I study and research topics for my field of expertise as well. I decide which historic information to research, which books to read, which videos to watch. So I’m not buying into this one. There’s been enough miseducation from folks outside of my community and others with agendas, to go around the world many times. And you can reply to this with nasty insults if you like, but don’t waste your time because I won’t be logging on to read them.

    • Works from some the great Black historians. Harvard black historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates.

      Read the brilliant Black Historian Carter G. Woodson. Born in 1875, the first black Harvard doctorate. Father of Black History Month.

      From the 1830 Census; of 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves. 42% of the free black slave owners owned d just one slave. In other words, most black slave owners probably owned family members to protect them, but far too many turned to slavery to exploit the labor of other black people for profit.
      (There was no court written slavery law mid-1600s, as there were only 2 dozen blacks servants. The 75-100 years prior, 30,000 Irish were the indentured servants. The Brits kidnapped the Irish and imprisoned them; and sold their freedom back to them, after 7 years work in the New Colony.)

      Perhaps the most insidious or desperate attempt to defend the right of black people to own slaves was the statement made on the eve of the Civil War by a group of free people of color in New Orleans, offering their services to the Confederacy. “The Negro slave-holders, like the white ones, fought to keep their chattels in the Civil War.” Rogers also notes that some black men, including those in New Orleans at the outbreak of the War, “fought to perpetuate slavery.”

      In a fascinating essay reviewing this controversy, R. Halliburton shows that free black people have owned slaves “in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery,” at least since Anthony Johnson and his wife Mary went to court in Virginia in 1654 to obtain the services of their indentured servant, a black man, John Castor, for life.

      John H. Russell lists specific dates and pages of filed court case records in the early-mid 1600s documenting governing laws for black indentured servants, White indentured servants, free black servants, free black children of indentured servants, free black servants turned black slave owners, and so forth.
      According to economic historian Stanley Engerman, “In Charleston, South Carolina about 42 percent of free blacks owned slaves in 1850, and about 64 percent of these slaveholders were women.” Greed, in other words, was gender-blind.

  • Inflector Goldwaters

    This is not true… The first person to be given a life sentence of slavery by a Court order was “John Punch” in 1640 James town Va. John and two other Europeans ran-away from their indentured “master”; when they were caught the two Euros received 4 more years of servitude, but John and his offspring were condemned to a life time of slavery… Yes, Johnson did have indentured servants and slaves, but He was not the first man, so-called “black or white” in the USA or Colonies to get a Court order to make a man or woman a salve…

    • Ok, if that is the case, with all the research I have endured, who do you say was? In the long run, it keads back to Johnson, and again, there was an active reign of a Queen at that time, whom was black. I’m sick of this poor African American. It has never been about you, but about the true meaning of slavery. Plus the slavery that continues. It invovles all races, children, men, and women. People!! Please!! Educate yourselves.

  • This article is NOT TRUE. #1 The first 20 slave arrived in the Colony of Virginia in 1619. Long before Johnson was a free man. #2 And most importantly, The Colony of Virginia was a British colony ruled by the King of Engand. The was NO such thing as the United States of America, for well over anther 100 years. So it was impossible for him to have been he first slave owner in the United States

  • Before any one starts whining about color and slavery..educate yourselves..COMPLETELY!. The civil war was about economics and not slavery. People of all races have been slaves throughout world history. The black man in Africa enslaved his so called ” BROTHER” and sold him to the white man..this is how black slavery started!. So, why is it that we only hear about the white man, enslaving the black man?. You need to start at the “ROOTS” of this issue and not selectively choose bits and pieces to fit your agenda.

    The bottom line is…ITS ALL BOUT CHOICE! You cannot self segregate yourself as a race then scream oppression or racism..there is no oppression, there are black people in all levels of the government and corp America, not forgetting as a president too. If, you choose use your race as an excuse to disobey the law and commit crimes, then use it as “I’m a victim”, you are the racist. I have yet to see a white,Asian,Hispanic and others burn down towns and riot, when one of their own commits a crime and is arrester or killed by a Law enforcement officer of any race?…

    Bottom line here is get and education, job, self-respect and assimilate into society as any other civilized human would do.

    • Terrific information. Slavery is loss of any of the bundle of rights a full citizen has. A legal life imprisonment.

    • Lord Wrayth Gerik

      The Civil War was about slavery not states rights. Read the succession documents, the cornerstone speech and the constitution of the confederacy. There is no mention of the states rights except in the constitution where they said the legality of slave would decided their federal govt not the states.

  • They called that indentured servant back in the days. It was a contract to work for a certain amount of years at the end of the contract the slave regained his freedom. Sometimes times he get land or a small amount of money to start on his own. Very different than slavery that we all know. Anthony Johnson after he got his freedom he got into business for himself. But he was the first to change the business. He sued someone else for taking his slave after the servant contract ended. He claimed that the man was his for life. Greedy bastard!!!

    • The reason for slavery was that Europeans were very poor desperate people who went on a rampage for riches. Africa was and still is the richest continent on the planet so they had no reason to enslave people for riches. Today the whole world is stealing from Africa; If this guy called Anthony Johnson really had slave or indentured servants (which means they were paid a wage) after he was taken away from Africa, he merely tried to survive just like anybody else and after all he paid his worker. The brutal slave trade is what everyone needs to know about. They need to know how slaves were raped, lynched, branded, thrown overboard slave ships. How the Indians were raped, slaughtered and sent on a reserve plot of land that is infertile. There is no evidence of Anthony Johnson harming his worker; his worker probably wanted to change his employer and should be allowed to do so. I believe that Anthony Johnson was wrong to claim this man in a court of law just like the Europeans were wrong to claim the other races as slaves. If he had mistreated his servant I am sure at that time the court would have handled it differently.

      • Your faith in the early “courts”indicates an incredulity that borders on imbecility.It was not even shrouded in nicities like corporations are persons in those days. Courts are usually shills for the elites or their toadies. People are things to be used for wealth enhancement. Despite some progress what do you think the wage slaves or indentured students of today are? Robotics will soon displace the overpopulated underclass leaving robot masters and lackeys to serve the master soon. How many of your progeny do you think will be spared.

  • The propensity for humans to use, abuse and degrade other humans has always been present and remains so today. One of many tools emotionally weak people utilize to use, abuse and degrade others is racism, and it comes in many forms.

    In my humble opinion the concept of “race”, whatever its origins, has been one of the worse evils ever perpetrated on human kind. The decoding of human DNA has shown that 99.9% of it is the same in ALL humans! However the human genome is so vast the remaining 0.1% is where the differences occur that make us all unique individuals. We are all unique in an almost limitless number of ways, such as gender, height, weight, body type, the way our brains are wired, etc. and this also includes skin color, facial features, hair type, etc. that is typically associated with the concept of race. The amount of the remaining 0.1% of DNA that differs from person to person that accounts for how we have artificially divided ourselves into groups called “races” (skin color, facial features, etc.) is tiny and there is no proof or rational that these DNA differences in any way affect the remaining vast majority of DNA differences that make us unique individuals. In a nutshell… there is no such thing as “race”. It is artificial.

    The differences we are so preoccupied with are in reality cultural differences. When we start recognizing that people we see as different from ourselves are genetically the same as ourselves (there is no such thing as “race”) and the differences are because they have experienced a different set of circumstances (learned core values, types of foods enjoyed, expected family structure, religion, etc., i.e. a different culture) as they have lived their lives, perhaps it will be easier to understand and accept those differences without so much polarization.

    If it is SO important that we divide ourselves into groups there are a number of ways to do it that would make more sense genetically. How about by body type? How about left brain and right brain? However dividing ourselves into groups by some arbitrary criteria (which is what the concept of “race” has done) will lead to a “them versus us” mentality that will be cultivated and utilized by individuals and groups for their own attainment of power at the expense of everyone else.

  • The most amazing part of this story is not the story itself but the biases and beliefs of those that posted a comment here. No matter what the facts, views will not be altered whether black or white, liberal or conservative. I was not aware of Anthony Johnson but based on what I do know about slavery worldwide from an historical perspective, it sounds perfectly plausible. Jeez people!

  • As no one want’s to have to have servants, the plantations and large farms would not run themselves. The fact that people were given 166 acres in the land grant, made it almost impossible to manage it with ones own family only. Short sighted were the politicians even of that day. No forethought to the population that would follow and their need of land. The grant should have been more to the tune of 25 or 50 acres at the most. Greed weather political or judicial still encouraged taxation of the public, to the point of oppression. To the point of where private ownership doesn’t even exist anymore. Stop paying your taxes and see we are all indentured servants.

  • Africans were made slaves and brought to the Americas in 1500s, particularly in the Caribbean, Central and South America by white people! Now dealing with US history, Anthony Johnson if even a real person was brought over against his will by slave traders. So whoever is skewing these articles is only try to fit their guilty white supremacist agenda. If 1000 black people owned slaves, who accumulated the wealth, the land, and what system was created to keep blacks or whites down from that system? What group of people, controls just about everything in this country? For the clown that said Jews have suffered the most, well that was white putting another group of whites in concentration camps, blacks were also in those concentration camps, Jews also had a hand at funding the Atlantic slave trade, last point tell me how the so-called Jew suffers today collectively as a community?

    • I am the “Ron” that posted back on December 8, 2015 attempting to make the point that there is no such thing as the various races. I’ll go farther and attempt to make the point that there are no groups of any significance based on skin color, financial status or religion in the United States that are organized to the point that they are, as a group, effectively scheming, plotting and implementing ways to control, abuse and punish other groups unlike themselves. Such hateful groups that do exist are small and have rightfully been marginalized by our society, popular culture and our legal system. However there are many individuals and small groups that believe they are victims of grand schemes to keep them down. They make it their mission to keep hate alive. It appears the “Ron” of the February 8, 2016 post is in one of these groups. These people harbor ugly and debilitating negative emotions such as jealousy, envy and self-victimization.

      To harbor these emotions is a sign of emotional weakness and low self-esteem. It’s easier to blame someone else if one is not happy with the choices one has made versus taking responsibility for those choices. If an individual can find the strength to take responsibility for the choices they have made and learn from those choices (the good ones and the bad ones) their confidence and self-esteem increases and the chance they find their way to self-sufficiency and general happiness increases. This is very difficult to do as long as the individual holds on to jealousy, envy and self-victimization that promotes a belief that their plight is someone else’s fault. Most of us have experienced circumstances in our lives where we have found ourselves in difficult and/or “unfair” situations. Those with positive attitudes and good self-esteem typically find a way to work through these circumstances. Those that harbor jealousy, envy and self-victimization have more of a tendency to see these circumstances as insurmountable and make the choice wallow in self-pity and victimhood.

      With rare exception U.S. citizens have opportunities to be self-supporting and experience the self-esteem boost that comes with that choice should they have the strength of character to take it. There are millions of examples of U.S. citizens that have come from very modest means to become productive, self-sufficient and happy individuals. And millions of people are taking great risk to illegally cross our borders to take advantage of these opportunities.

    • Actually the Spanish started bringing them here first then a few decades later the English did as well. But it stated with the brownish colored skin of the Spanish…

  • I have a honest question. How was This guy the first legal slave owner in america when the first slave ship got there years before?

    • He’s the first slave owner to be documented in the eyes of the law, thanks to him suing his neighbor, he also created a precedent whereby indentured servants could become permanent slaves without having committed a crime, before this you would only become a slave if you tried to escape or violated your indenture.

      • Lord Wrayth Gerik

        The Johnson case occurred under a foreign govt. The colonists were British Subjects not American citizens. There is evidence of this case starting chattel slavery.

  • All I know is who cares where it started or who did what all I know is that slavery is bs black, white, brown, american, Irish, Jewish, Chinese, native american, any race or color should not have to go thru….. Slavery is a sign of weakness cuz your having someone do something u won’t, kinda like a lil bitch…. So who cares where it started or who started it that’s kid shit…. Now let get with the program and focus on what we have in front of us today….

  • Lord Wrayth Gerik

    Slavery was legalized by Gov of Massachusetts John Winthrop in 1641 not 1655.

  • Lord Wrayth Gerik

    They also try to say John Punch doesn’t count cause he broke the law. His crime? Running away from his captors who forced him into indentured servitude. Everyone here would have done the same even the bigots on this thread. John Punch is a slave name.

  • Slanted history courtesy of the KKK. In 1641, Governor John Winthrop, a slave owner himself, helped write the first law legalizing slavery in North America. This law predated Anthony Johnson’s suit.

    • I’m staying in south Africa in south Africa slavery called Labour brokers they are legally what is the difference black parson Will never be free our black leaders when they have a chance tofix the wrong of the passed is them selfs and they’re female’s they looters shame on the black nations

  • This complete article is spurious. Hugh Gwyn, a Dutchman, was the first slave owner in 1640. John Punch the first slave. Johnson did not own a slave until 1654 and that was only due to an anomaly in the law. His properties were eventually seized as blacks were prohibited from owning anything during the time of active slavery. You people.

  • Lalo Forenstein

    Hugh Gwyn was the first, and he was white. Someone said it above me. And technically , Johnson’s shit was all taken away after he died, so his freedom should actually be questioned in the first place as it seemed only to be a ‘novelty’ amongst wealthy white land owners at the time. Cat is right … You people.

  • Ray T. King Jr.

    What about Robert King the kid who was pickup off the streets of England.

  • Can any of you please share what you know about the meaning behind :BLACK FRIDAY?

    • Black Friday has nothing to do with Blacks. Traditionally, it is when retailers books go “in the black”, meaning they start showing a profit. They are “in the red”, when their books show they are losing money.
      I have read that it used to be called the other way around.

  • People need to do their own research, to find the truth about how many/how few people actually owned slaves. Don’t just go to one or two of these “Fact or Fiction” websites. No one alive today was a slave, or slave owner. Thankfully, we are past that. Just because some people owned slaves, doesn’t mean it was every white man’s fault. Many people immigrated here after slavery was abolished, including some blacks. I’m not saying forget about it. But, we need to move forward, & try to be better people, than some of those in the past.(& a few today) Every country has “bad things” in it’s past. (that’s no excuse)
    Most of what happens is because of politics, which is influenced by the wealthy. It is not necessarily the fault of the regular people. Most people, in the U.S., had nothing to do with slavery. More should be done about human trafficking – because it is still happening. And, yes, the wealthy are involved in it. But, most people are not.
    Stop blaming every white man, for everything bad that happens. Some people bring on their own problems – whether it be lack of confidence, lack of proper upbringing, or just laziness. We all need to prove to ourselves that we can do better, & improve our lives.

  • Today is 9/11/2020. I think we need to take this day as a reminder of who we are, American!!! I don’t see the color of one’s skin, or the color of their eye’s. And never have!! And never will.!! Because my father and mother God rest their souls taught their children to respect and love others, to help their fellow man. What I see today is so heartbreaking. I sometimes wonder if the world can make it to another day. If we go back and see the anti-Semitism of the Jewish people it all started with a movement of hate. Will there ever be a day that we can say that God has giving us a new heart, a new mind and, eye’s to see with??? Thousands are dying out there ,and we can’t seem to get past the [pasted] I believe we need to look for these new things that God has promise..