Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Anthony Johnson in 1654 sues Robert Parker

Anthony Johnson was a black man who refused to release another black man named John Casor from indentured servitude. Casor sought help from Robert Parker, a white man who intervened and tried to persuade Johnson to release Casor and give him his freedom. After all, Johnson, originally from Angola, had once been an indentured servant himself. Johnson had prospered since his contract of servitude ended. Parker argued he should release Casor as the contract stipulated.
Up until that time, indentured servitude lasted about 7 years. At that time the servant was granted freedom from employment as a servant. The former servants were given land, money, food, and other assets by their employer for their services. This gave them a good start and most had a trade to use, learned from their tenure as an indentured servant. Many prospered and became slave owners themselves.
How could they own a slave you might ask? After all, indentured servitude was the method of employment for many immigrants at that time. They could own a slave because Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in 1654 for the right to own a man forever. Until the civil war ended that transgression, white, black, and indian people were enslaved, no longer held by a contract of servitude.
What will really surprise you is the percentages of black families in relationship to white families who owned slaves. Why is there no mention of this in "ROOTS" or "TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE?" If almost 35% of the black population owned slaves while less than 4% of the white population owned slaves, why is the white slave owner only depicted in our modern society?
After all, whether the slave owner was black or white, the slave was either black, white, or indian.

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