400 Years Ago Today, The First Ship Carrying African Slaves Arrived in Jamestown, Virginia
If there ever was a real case to be made about African Americans getting reparations, look no further than what happened August 20, 1619.
On this dark day in 1619, 20 Africans were forcibly brought to Jamestown, Virginia- marking the beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in North America.
At first, Africans had no official place in the American colonies. They were not called slaves, but they were different from indentured servants. Those were people who chose to come to the colonies and work in exchange for the cost of travel. After a given number of years, indentured servants were free to move on from such work.
But captive Africans came against their will. And they did not expect freedom.
In 1662, lawmakers in Virginia officially established slavery. They passed a law that said any child born to an enslaved black woman faced being enslaved forever, too.
Under that system, the number of American slaves grew to almost 4 million.
Here is a known undisputed fact, Slave labor helped build the American colonies and, later, the new nation.
Slavery was so big and so important to the American economy that it was valued at more than all of America’s (other) industries combined. For that alone, a debt is owed. 400 years later, the effects of that day still linger.
From August 20, 1619, until possibly today, the system that is America has always looked at the African American as less than. While African Americans continue to make progress in America, we can’t ever forget how we got here.