Project Report Paper
The Black Experience
July 8, 2013
The First Africans in America
America is a country that is rich with history and tradition. However, there are some blemishes in the United States history that many people may like to forget. America’s early history is forever tainted and scarred with atrocities that befell a certain demographic of the population. African Americans were hugely discriminated against early on in our countries history; they faced discrimination, racism, and even enslavement. The first Africans to come to North America did not come as slaves, but started out as indentured servants. Tobacco was starting to become big in Virginia and plantation owners needed workers to work their fields. “The settlers found it difficult to subdue the Native American people, who knew the land and who lived in unified communities that had the means of self-defense” (Gale Encyclopedia). Working the fields was very hard work, which required long hours and undesirable working conditions. “At first settlers in the colonies looked to England for workers. Arriving from overseas English laborers cleared the fields for the planting and harvesting of tobacco, which sold for high price in the 1620’s and 1630’s” (Gale Encyclopedia). The first set of Africans to arrive in the United States arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in August of 1619. When these Africans arrived in Jamestown they were indentured servants, meaning they had an obligation of servitude for a period of seven years. However, it was not long before these plantation owners did away with the idea of indentured servants and unbeknownst to the African Americans they had a lifetime of slavery in store for them and future generations. “The grounds for this harsh sentence presumably lay in the fact that he [Africans] was non-Christian rather than in the fact that he was physically dark. But religious beliefs could change, while skin color...
References: McCartney, M. Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia’s First Africans.
Africans in America. Arrival of first Africans to Virginia Colony.
Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Africans Arrive in Virginia, 1619.
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