Sunday, July 2, 2017

Anthony Johnson: The Father of American Slavery


Anthony Johnson

       As promised in the last blog, here is the story of Anthony Johnson, nicknamed "The Father of American Slavery." What makes Anthony Johnson special, just take a look at the drawing depicting him above. Johnson was born around 1600 in Angola, Africa. He was brought to Virginia as an indentured servant around 1621. He worked his required years and was freed and given land. He became a successful tobacco farmer in Maryland. It was there that he obtained five indentured servants, four white, and one black. Make sure you understand what I just told you. He had four white servants (slaves). Bet you never were taught that in school. 
       The period of indentured service at the time was four to seven years. Anthony married another African slave named Mary and they had gained their freedom by 1635. By 1651, Anthony had a successful tobacco farm and owned five servants, four white, and one black. In 1653, John Casor, the black servant claimed his indenture had expired and he was being held illegally by Johnson. The story is complicated with a neighbor attempting to gain the services of Casor and a court case resolved the issue. It was the first time in America that a person was held in servitude (slavery) for life. Prior to this time, one could be held in servitude for a lifetime only if he'd committed a crime. Two white planters swore in court that Casor had served his time, yet the court still sided with Johnson. Now we have all been convinced by modern historians that black men could not win in court versus whites. This case proves that assumption wrong. Anthony Johnson died around 1670 after earning the nickname "The Father of American Slavery." 
       I looked up Anthony Johnson on Snopes and found they agreed with everything I've written above. Its easy to tell by the way they worded their article that it galled them somewhat to admit the above was true, but they had little choice. They go on to list other facts about slavery that very few want to admit was true. Here is what they list. In 1830, 3,775 black people owned 12,740 black slaves. At the time of the Indian removal in 1838, three tribes, the Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws owned 3,500 African slaves. At a latter point the Cherokee tribe owned 3,500. In 1860, William Ellison, a free black man in South Carolina owned 63 black slaves. There were 171 black slave owners at the time in South Carolina alone. There are a lot more interesting facts on Snopes and you can tell they attempt to put a spin on the ones that aren't politically correct. 
       My buddy Pat, a member of the S.C.V. in the Joe Wheeler Camp in Birmingham said that he liked me because I just tell it like it is. I wish everyone else would do the same and quit trying to be so politically correct. If your statement is a fact, just say this is how it was, there is no need to say this is correct, but let me put a spin on it so it doesn't hurt so much. 

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