One colonist, Anthony Johnson, a black man, by indenturing his own family members, was able to secure 250 acres of land. His sons, utilizing the same strategy, gained an additional 650 acres. The Johnsons settled on “Pungoteague Creek” on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and thrived for almost 40 years.
Anthony Johnson, a black man, raised livestock, prospered and as was customary with prosperous landowners, indenturing one black and several white servants. Johnson had sued in court and won several cases, but one case in particular would set the stage for a dramatic shift in the workforce. There are several reports as to the origin of this landmark case, which would indelibly change the American cultural landscape and impact relationships between blacks and whites for centuries.
Johnson – who had himself been captured in Angola and brought to America as an indentured servant – was a black man. From evidence found in the earliest legal documents, Anthony Johnson must be recognized as the nation’s first official legal slaveholder. The father of legalized slavery in America was a black man.
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