Several weeks before arriving at Point Comfort, the Treasurer and White Lion attacked the slave ship, the San Juan Bautista carrying Angolans, sailing from Africa to America. The English pirates climbed aboard the Bautista, hoping to find a bounty of gold. Instead, they found the African Angolan slaves, victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade. The pirates took about 60, splitting them between the White Lion and the Treasurer. They took the young, healthiest captives.
At Point Comfort, they were split up, with the majority of the Angolans being acquired by wealthy and well-connected English planters. They were deemed indentured servants since Virginia had no clear-cut laws sanctioning slavery. When they acquired release, if at all from their indenture, a few prospered. Known slaves coming on the Treasurer were Angelo (Angela), and Anthony and Isabella who had the first black child born in the American colonies. He was named William Tucker after their parents' master William Tucker. Baby William became the first African slave to be baptized in the American colonies on January 3rd, 1624. Later, other arrivals at Point Comfort were Anthony Johnson (1621) and Mary (1622). Within two years Anthony completed his indenture, married Mary and later acquired land by importing slaves to Virginia. On February 16, 1623, a census was taken in the colony, and African blacks included Anthony, William, John, Anthony, Angelo (Angela), John, Edward, Peter, Anthony, Frances, Margaret, Anthony and Isabella.
During these first fifty years a few blacks were able to acquire land, build their own homes, testify in court, vote, work and live among white settlers on an equal bases. Life started to change beginning in 1670 with a series of Slave Laws placing severe restrictions on their movements and conduct. In 1705 all Africans were stripped of their rights. In less than one century, the promise of freedom faded from memory, and the long night of slavery began.
Enactment of the 1670 Slave Law
The enslaved population in America climbed quickly as Europeans developed a craving for sugar products. In three centuries more than fifteen million African men, women, and children were forcibly brought to the New World by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and British. Another estimated two million did not make it, dying on over-crowded and inhuman slave ships, victims of the Middle Passage, the second of three triangular commercial ventures. Ships from Europe traded manufactured goods for humans in Africa, as warlords and kings were willing to capture and sell members of other tribes.
Aside from Louisiana leading the colonies in deaths from harsh working conditions, the lives of Blacks during the Middle Passage became one of the largest genocides in history. Ironically, the demand for white gold was responsible for the demand for black slaves.
Tobacco in the eighteenth century became competitive in Virginia when John Rolfe’s “sweet” tobacco hit European Markets. Later in the nineteenth century the act “Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807” saw an upturn in profits for Virginia plantation owners as they made large profits selling their slaves to sugar and cotton plantations in the deep south. But nothing in colonial times would match the economy of Louisiana’s white gold.
of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history. Every year on March 25, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. In order to more permanently honor the victims, the Ark of Return memorial was unveiled on March 25, 2015. The winning design by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced in September 2013.
James Armistead Lafayette (1748 or 1760 - 1830 or 1832)
Frances Land House Built in 1805
The house standing today is possibly over two Older Houses, 1732 & 1640
@ Eastern Shore Chapel Cemetery.
*Will of Thomas Woodhouse (Will Book II page 62) “Negro Max I give him his freedom and five hundred dollars.” April 8, 1812.
*Will of Emanuel Fentress (Will Bock II page 399) “I leave my four slaves to be free forever; man David, boy Daniel, woman Letty, girl Cloe for them and their heirs.”
*Ned Keeling (1770-1846) became a free man in 1815. Shortly after his master’s death, Catherine Collette, a white woman bought Ned in order to save him from slave traders. After five years Ned was able to buy his family their freedom through manumission, Ned’s wife Amy, and two children, Peggy and William. By 1830, Ned held property valued at $1,000.00 from his job as a drayman (delivering beer for a brewery).
in the Deep South Under Harsh Conditions
Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) born a slave, help hundreds of slaves reach freedom through a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She made 13 trips to the South, helping to free over 70 people. While she was sometimes featured in today’s classroom history books, they seldom mention other notable women of color, especially a famous Virginian, Isabella Gibbons (1836 – 1886). She lived and worked at the University of Virginia (UVA) as a slave. When the Emancipation Proclamation freed Isabella, she remained in Charlottesville and became a prominent member of the newly freed African American community as a schoolteacher. In 1914 UVA named a new residence hall after her and her husband in 2014, and her powerful words are engraved on the new (2020) Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (see the memorial below in this article). “Can we forget the crack of the whip, the cowhide, the whipping post, the auction block, the handcuffs, the spaniels, the iron collar, the negro-trader tearing the young child from its mother’s breast as a whelp from the lioness? Have we forgotten those horrible cruelties, hundreds of our race killed? No, we have not, nor ever will.”
Harriet Tubman was not the first to use the Underground Railroad. Before her, Florida had an Underground Railroad network of safe houses and anti-slavery activists stretching into Florida where slaves found freedom at Fort Mose, but many going north were returned to their slave masters as the Fugitive Slave Law did not end until 1864.
Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in what is now the United States. There, enslaved under Spanish rule, blacks had more rights than the race-based slavery that flourished in the southern English colonies. By 1738 there were 100 blacks, mostly runaways from the Carolinas, living at Fort Mose. Many were skilled workers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cattlemen, boatmen, and farmers.
Located just north of St. Augustine, Fort Mose played an important role in the development of colonial North America when in 1845 Florida was admitted to the union as the 27th US state.
The University of Virginia (UVA)
Virginia’s Sin of Slavery is Only Half the Story Without Understanding Its Aftermath
Ref. "Fort Monroe, the Key to the South," 2000, pg 37, by John V. Quarstein, on page 37, made this assertion.
August 6, 1861. This all became clear when Congress formally nullified the Fugitive Slave Law as provoked by Major General Benjamin Butler’s decision to make slaves “chattel property.” As commander of U.S. Union forces at Fort Monroe he reasoned that slaves were being used to support the Confederate economy and war effort, and that he could take possession of whatever property the Union needed to turn a Southern asset into a Union benefit. When runaway slaves heard they could be “contraband” of war, more than ten thousand found asylum at Fort Monroe. Using these slave assets, in one assignment, Butler sent Willis A. Hodges to Cape Henry to keep the lighthouse operational for Union ships and guard it from Confederate attack.
Gen. Gordon Granger is shown on the above left, and on Galveston Island the marker describes the history surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation. Read the inscription @ https://www.galveston.com/whattodo/tours/self-guided-tours/historical-markers/juneteenth
(1861-1866) - After a four-year war costing the lives of as many as 850,000 (not counting slave causalities of which there were tens of thousands), on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee fought the last battle surrendering his Confederate troops to Ulysses S. Grant, and 16 months later Confederate President Andrew Johnson declared a formal end to the conflict in August 1866.
1866 - Texas. For the few monuments erected in Confederate States for Union soldiers who fought during the Civil War, the German-American Treue der Union Monument is an exception. It commemorates 34 German-Texans killed for refusing to sign loyalty oaths to the Confederacy.
After Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865, with reunification plans falling to his successors, Presidents Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) and Ulysses S. Grant (1869 - 1877), white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South.
First to hit freedmen hard was land first given to them but then taken away. The most well-known was issued by Major General William Sherman January 16, 1865 promising thousands of freedmen 40-acres of land by "Special Field Order 15." In July 1866, all confiscated lands from whites were returned to their original owners by an act of Congress. Freemen could stay and work the land, but most left.
In 1883, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional and not authorized by the 13th or 14th Amendments of the Constitution, and in 1896, the Supreme Court further promulgated the “separate but equal doctrine” in Plessy v. Ferguson, thereby sanctioning a profusion of unabashedly discriminatory Jim Crow laws and effectively demolishing the foundations of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. However, freedmen were able to move freely, and six million fled the South while many stayed behind to experience mostly bad outcomes.
April 26, 2018 - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. In the background columns hang down from the ceiling with the names of freemen hanged.
The outcome of those who stayed behind was finally documented in 2018 with the opening of a six-acre site in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to the lynching of more than 4,000 freedmen between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice Iniative's "Lynching in America" project, in a decades-long campaign of racial terror in the eleven deep southern states. The memorial site provides a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terrorism and its legacy. In the building a metal plate reads:
FOR THE HANGED AND BEATEN, SHOT, DROWNED, AND BURIED
FOR THE TORTURED, TORMENTED, AND TERRORIZED
FOR THOSE ABANDONED BY THE RULE OF LAW WE WILL REMEMBER
WITH HOPE BECAUSE HOPELESSNESS IS THE ENEMY OF JUSTICE
WITH COURAGE BECAUSE PEACE REQUIRES BRAVERY
WITH PERSISTENCE BECAUSE JUSTICE IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE WITH FAITH
BECAUSE WE SHALL OVERCOME
In Brunswick, Georgia a mural of Ahmaud Arbery is painted on a downtown building. The case has brought renewed criticism of a police department that, through one person’s efforts, the “I Run With Maud” movement has gone international. Jason Vaughn, a football coach and African American studies teacher at Brunswick High was a key figure in the push to investigate the death of his former football player Ahmaud, who was shot and killed after being chased by armed men while jogging in a local neighborhood in February 2019. After Ahmaud’s death, the investigation dragged on with no answers, and local leaders felt content to bury the episode. Emerging as a leading advocate for justice, Vaughn pushed for resolution challenging a town leadership that failed Arbery. Despite people telling Vaughn “to stop stirring trouble,” he nevertheless forged ahead garnering local support and media attention until the people involved in Arbery’s murder were arrested and charged.
On Jan 6, 2020 Raphael Warnock, a black minister, won a Georgia seat in the U.S. Senate, completing a 150-year turnaround from the Reconstruction years (1865-1877) in Georgia. One of a number of appalling events that occurred when in 1868 Henry McNeal Turner, a black clergyman, the first African American chaplain in the Union Army, won a seat on the Georgia state legislature. Later that year, a white mob killed Turner along with 27 other black men, also clergy in the state legislature. This was part of violent deeds that started the state down the road to a horrible period of torture and lynching’s.
Warnock’s victory can be partially credited to Stacey Abrams, a black woman who lost her bid for the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election which had been marked by accusations of voter suppression. She went on to found Fair Fight Action to address voter suppression. Abrams tireless organizing efforts have been widely credited with boosting turnout and making possible the election of the first black man in Georgia to the U.S. Congress. In response, a huge outpouring posted congratulations - “Black women saved our republic,” “Stacey Abrams is a hero,” and “THANK YOU BLACK WOMEN.”
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Topeka, Kansas, commemorates the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education decision to end racial segregation in public schools.
Liverpool, England; the Benin Region of West Africa; and Richmond, Virginia: During the 18th Century, these three places reflected on of the well-known triangles in the trade of enslaved Africans. Men, women and children were captured in West and Central Africa and transported from Benin and other countries. They were chained, herded, loaded on ships built in England and transported through the unspeakable horrors of the Middle Passage. They were imported and exported in Richmond, Virginia and sold in other American cities. Their forced labor laid the economic foundation of this nation.
August 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia. The violent “Unite the Right” rally was a clarion call for people to stand up to these white supremacists who were openly exhibiting hatred against blacks.
*Between 1785-1985 Black Codes were used to keep blacks incarcerated for even trivial charges. As many as 200,000 blacks were forced into back-breaking labor in coal mines and lumber camps. They lived in squalid conditions, chained, starved, beaten, flogged and sexually violated. They died by the thousands from injury, disease and torture.
*Between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,400 blacks were tortured and then hanged, including 71 blacks in Virginia, but that Virginia proportionately small number belies the fact that, except for Texas, Virginia had executed more people than any state with the huge preponderance being black.
*Between 1921 and 1996 there have been forth-five attacks, three in Virginia, against black churches in the form of arson, bombings, mass murder, hate crimes, and white supremacist-propelled domestic terrorism.
*Still, America is not out of the woods because of various restrictions on blacks. The most devastating of all is the criminal justice system. As late as 2010, the rate of incarcerations in Virginia was 6 blacks for each white, leaving a legacy of black felons existing under the weight of various forms of discrimination in housing and voting.
But, especially in Virginia, things are changing under the leadership of Governor Ralph Northam (Jan 2018 to Jan 2022 - the Virginia term limit). He has become a champion, leading Virginia to an awakening of its "original sin" by repudiating racism. His example is helping to bring the Virginia economy and citizen pride back from its 160-year-long nightmare of racial wrong, which is also setting the example for the other former Confederate states.
*On June 4, 2019, Governor Northam issued an executive order setting up a commission to examine Jim Crow area legislation still remaining on the books.
*In 2020 Governor Northam championed the abolishment of the death penalty which is now a law.
*On August 24, 2020 Governor Northam signed an executive order establishing the Commission on African American History Education. In their final report he said, “The Commission’s recommendations will ensure that Virginia’s history standards reflect the complexity of our past, help students understand how present-day challenges are connected to this history, and provide teachers with more resources to engage in anti-racist work. This is important because the more our students know, the more our students can do to help build a better future for our Commonwealth and our country.”
Ref: “Behind Northam’s Statue Push: A Descendant of Slaves,” the Washington Post June 26, 2020, by Gregory S. Schneider
After her visit, Harris told the nation, “America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans, and Black men in particular, have been treated through the course of our history as less than human. Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors.”
America takes two steps forward and then one step back. George Floyd’s death inspired a wave of soul-searching about the roles that race and racism still play in American life, but in less than a year after Floyd's death, critical race theory (CRT) emerged among conservatives as a pushback against “Black Lives Matter.” CRT, a psychological defense for the ones in power, cited as Un-American, opening up the history of enslaved people from the 1619 Project to K-12 curriculums. BLM people have tried to push back, but CRT is an emotional defense against change, and not one based on fact.
Ref: “Why Conservatives Really Fear Critical Race Theory,” by Christine Emba, the Washington Post, May 27, 2021
*“Queen Latifah's Roots tracing to Princess Anne County,”
Re-printed in the U.S. News & World Report, January 29, 2007.
(some of the below article is shortened and clarified) \/
In 1619, the two English privateer ships, the Treasurer and White Lion, were sailing between Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula when they sighted a slow-moving Spanish frigate named the San Juan Bautista. Hoping the frigate carried gold and silver, the White Lion and the Treasurer gave chase, trapping the Spanish ship in the Bay of Campeche. After hours of cannon fire, the Spanish captain surrendered. Upon boarding they discovered that instead of treasure, they had won a cargo of enslaved Africans being shipped from Luanda, Angola, to Vera Cruz, Mexico. The Africans, 350 men, women, and children, had been captured four months earlier. The White Lion and the Treasurer sailed for the new English colony of Jamestown, a struggling settlement in dire need of manpower. The ships arrived in the Chesapeake at the end of August. Of the Bautista's captives, 32 (17 females and 15 males) were purchased by Jamestown settlers. From Jamestown, both privateer ships sailed for Bermuda, where they traded their remaining Bautista captives. Over the next four years, a half dozen of these Africans were sent back to Jamestown. Names of Bautista Africans first appear in the 1625 Jamestown census. Among those the names were John Pedro, Antonio and Maria Johnson, John Graweere, and Margaret Cornish. In the beginning, the first group of Africans was split up and sent to tobacco plantations along the James River. They were put to work mostly planting and harvesting tobacco, but they also raised cattle and acted as traders, selling produce to Indians and to European ships arriving in Jamestown. During the next two decades, some were permitted to raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. Their skill at cattle raising, enabled them to earn extra money for their services to other farmers. They married, sometimes to their fellow Africans and sometimes to English settlers, and they raised families. By the 1640s and 1650s, a handful of families from the Bautista bought their own farms around Jamestown. Some of the Bautista captives in Virginia even acquired white servants to raise their tobacco in the 1650s. A few, like the Johnson family, became wealthy by colonial standards, even though others of their compatriots remained enslaved. Jamestown became the cradle of two African Americas, one free and one slave. In time, John Graweere became a respected officer of the Jamestown court. Margaret Cornish charmed the son of a Jamestown legislator. John Pedro became a member of the militia. In 1691, Jamestown outlawed freeing slaves unless the slaveholder transported them out of the colony. In 1705, the legislature refused to let slaves raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. Free African-Americans who were descendants of the first founders from the Bautista were stripped of many of their rights. In less than one century, the promising dawn had faded from memory, and the long night of slavery had begun.
-Late August of 1619, the first blacks arrived in the Virginia. They arrived at a time when there were no laws pertaining to slavery in the colony as we know it today. Somewhere in the vicinity of Old Point or at Jamestown, Virginia, a ship landed carrying twenty or so blacks chained together. At that point the blacks took their place alongside white indentured servants. As time passed, other blacks arrived in Jamestown. Anthony arrived in 1621, Mary 1622, John Pedro 1623, and Bess 1625, all under different circumstances. On February 16, 1623, a census was taken in the colony. Blacks included Anthony, William, John, Anthony, Angelo, John, Edward, Peter, Anthony, Frances, Margaret, Anthony and Isabella.
-Due to serious labor difficulties in the colonies, the settlers attempted to utilize the Indians as a labor force but were unsuccessful. Many Indians knew the territory so well they easily escaped. Other Indians could not adjust to this new life, they became sick and died. Black men and women were in a strange land; some were just happy to put foot on land again. They seemed to adjust because they had no choice. Suddenly their hands and muscles worked along with the whites side by side. In most instances they worked even harder or better than their white counterparts.
-The first black child born in Virginia was William Tucker, son of Anthony and Isabella. They named their son after William Tucker, the man they were assigned to after their arrival in 1619. The exact date of the child's birth is not known. This child also became the first to be baptized in America about 1624. There were few American born blacks in the first twenty years because the importation of blacks declined. Another Anthony, who was one of the best-known early blacks, arrived in the colony around 1621. Within one or two years Anthony Johnson completed his indenture ship. A short time later he then married Mary, who came to the colony in 1622. By 1651, Anthony was able to import five black servants into the colony, on whose headrights he was granted 250 acres of land in what is now Northampton County. Numerous other blacks from that community began to accumulate property after they served their term of indenture ship. The Africans Johnson imported from Barbados, some of them could read and knew something of the law and their rights as individuals. In 1654 Richard Johnson, a servant imported by Anthony Johnson, was able to import two white servants of his own whose headrights he received 100 acres of land. Johnson another black, imported eleven persons and received on their headrights 550 acres of land adjoining Richard Johnson's plantation. Still other blacks, like Benjamin Dole, were granted 300 acres of land in Surry County for his importation of six persons. John Harris of New Kent County purchased 50 acres of land in 1688. Phillip Morgan leased 200 acres of land in York County for 99 years.
-During the first forty years blacks, acquired land, built their own homes, testified in court, voted, worked and lived among white settlers on an equal bases, once their indenture ships expired. Life start to change with a serious of Slave Laws passed and "slave codes" enacted that defined their legal position in detail and placed severe restrictions on the movements and conduct of the blacks.
1640 - All masters of families were required to furnish arms both offensive and defensive to protect their families except Blacks.
1670 - All servants not being Christian brought in by sea to be slaves for life.
-Under these laws and codes, new Black arrivals became nothing more than "chattel” property, to be beaten, inherited, and bequeathed like houses, animals or even tools. Others tried to escape and one master whipped all his slaves because one slave run away. They endured missing the freedom of their own homeland, a lifetime of hard labor, the lash of the whip, no control of their own destiny, families separated never to be seen again, nothing to look forward to, and a death better than slavery.
-Bishop Richard Allen (1760 - 1831) founder and First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1787, wrote, “We were stolen from our mother country, and brought here. We have tilled the ground and made fortunes for thousands ... This land which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country.
-Hannah Nimmo was a slave on the Nimmo Plantation. Hannah was born in 1831. She served as nurse maid to the Nimmo children. At an early age, she became a member of Nimmo M.E. Church South. When her master attended church Hannah sat in the slave balcony of Nimmo M.E. Church South.