Monday, February 22, 2016

Anthony Johnson, a black man, THE FATHER OF LEGAL SLAVERY IN THE US

Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month."

Obama: 'You know it's Black History Month when someone yells, “Heyyy, Michelle! Girl, you look so good!'” LGBTQ Nation‎ ???

In celebration of black history week I am including the following article.

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Anthony Johnson, a black man, THE FATHER OF LEGAL SLAVERY IN TH US.

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Father of U.S. slavery was a black man

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.
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It is well known that the first colonials arrived on these shores following the settlement of Jamestown by the Virginia Company in 1607.

In 1619, all indentured servants (white or black) had specified periods of servitude ranging from four to seven years and received precisely the same treatment and rewards. At the conclusion of their respective periods of servitude, each was entitled to freedom, citizenship and a land grant of 25 to 50 acres. Throughout the early colonial period when all land was held in trust for the king, the basis of land disposition were grants, dispensed by the local government in accordance with the king’s wishes.

Land grants in Virginia were issued in accordance with a particular system. Under this system, every person who paid his own way to Virginia would be entitled to 50 acres of land, known as a “headright.” There was no stigma attached, and all families, black or white, subsequently enjoyed all the rights and privileges of other citizens in the community. A father could indenture a family of four, and since each family member was entitled to 50 acres at the conclusion of the period of servitude, they were given their freedom and the family would qualify for a parcel of 200 acres.

For the indentureds, there were both economic and civic benefits associated with this practice: British law protected the rights of the individual, the master’s power over his indentured servants was limited, and a specific skill must have been taught.

The Virginia Company, however, changed the rules. They would now allow anyone to pay a person’s transportation to the colony in exchange for a period of indentured servitude, subject to certain caveats. Under the new rules, knowledge of a skill of any kind was not included in this contract and whoever paid the cost of passage would receive the 50 acres of land for each passage purchased. Indentured servants would now get nothing but a trip and often found themselves without rights or freedom.

Indentured servants, especially whites, could (and often did) slip away, become part of another settlement and simply disappear. A permanent, economically beneficial solution for the elites was sought and implemented.

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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.

One report says John Casor, a black indentured servant, “swindled” Johnson out of the remainder of his servitude. Another says the family convinced Johnson to free Casor. Still another says Casor “convinced” a white neighbor, Robert Parker, that he was being illegally detained. Whatever the reason, Johnson was not satisfied with the status quo and took Casor and Parker to court, alleging that Casor had not been obtained as a servant, but as a slave.

(Don't just sweep this under the rug and ignore the fact that a BLACK MAN sued in court to turn his black indetured servant into his black SLAVE! Don't forget to include this in black history month in the future! Anthony Johnson, a black man, is THE FATHER OF LEGAL SLAVERY IN THE US!!!!! Read the records below document b and c depositions. It is a fact anthony johnson's family asked him to set his "slave" john castor free but he would not. Anthony johnson considered John castor as his slave before he went to court. The court found that John castor a black man was anthony johnson's slave and this set a precedent, a legal decision, for LEGAL permanent ownership of a person as a SLAVE! Yes Anthony Johnson a black man was the FATHER OF LEGAL SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!) Story Reports

Understand the true significance of this case. Johnson was not suing to have John Casor fulfill some measure of a debt of servitude. Instead, he insisted the court grant his petition that “he had ye Negro for his life.” He was claiming the services of John Casor for the remainder of Casor’s natural life. To my knowledge, there is no earlier record of judicial support given to slavery in Virginia except as a punishment for crime. Anthony Johnson was asking the court to award him John Casor (who had committed no crime) as a slave.

Parker and one other influential landowner, both white, sided with Casor. However, the court ruled for Johnson. In the original language taken from the original documents is the decision of the county court:

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“Court of Northampton; Eight Mar, Anno1654:
Whereas complaint was this daye made to ye court by ye humble peticion of Anth. Johnson Negro ag[ains]t Mr. Robert Parker…”

Read it slowly and in modern English:

“Whereas complaint was this day made to the court by the humble petition of Anthony Johnson, Negro, against Mr. Robert Parker that he detains one John Casor, a Negro, the plaintiff’s servant under pretense that the said John Casor is a freeman. The court seriously considering and maturely weighing the premises do find that the said Mr. Robert Parker most unrightly keeps the said Negro John Casor from his rightful master Anthony Johnson, as it appears by the Deposition of Capt. Samuel Goldsmith and many probable circumstances. Be it therefore the Judgment of the court and ordered that said John Casor, Negro, shall forthwith be turned into the service of his said master, Anthony Johnson, and that the said Mr. Robert Parker make payment of all charges in the suit and execution. (Eighth March, Year 1654)”

This is apparently the first legal sanction of slavery (not for a crime) in the New World.

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.

Do we celebrate that as part of Black History Month?


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Court Cases Of Anthony Johnson

Document B: Anthony petitions for his slave, John Casar, in 1654

Document B:

Anthony petitions for his slave, John Casar, in 1654. The deposition of Capt. Sam’ll Goldsmyth taken 8th of March 1654 saith that being at the house of Anth. Johnson negro about the beginning of November last, to receive a hog head of tobacco, a negro called John Casar came to) this dep’t and told him that the came into Virginia for service, or eight years per judgement and that he had demanded his freedom of Anth. Johnson his master and further said that he had kept him his servent and the charge then he should or ought and desired that this dep’t would see that he might have no wrong where upon your dep’t demanded of Anth. Johnson his indenture the said Johnson answered he never saw any the negro replied when he came in he had an indenture Anth. Johnson said he had the negro for his life, but Mr. Robert and George Parker said they know that the said negro had an indenture in one Mr. Careys hand, on the other side of the bay, further the said Mr. Robert Parker and his brother George said (of the said Anth. Johnson did not let the negro go free) the said negro John Casar would recover most of his cows from him the said Johnson then Anth. Johnson (as this dep’t did suppose) was in fearce (FOLIO 226) (upon this discourse) Anth. Johnsons son in law, his wife, and his own two sons, persuaded the old negro Anth. Johnson to set the said John Casar free more saith not.
Sam’ll Goldsmyth Teste Edm. Matthews clk cur Walczyk, Frank V. transcriber, Northampton County Virginia, Orders, Deeds, & Wills, 1651-1654 Book IV.
Peter’s Row, New York. 1971. Pg. 192-193.


Document C:

Anthony returns to court over John Casar, in 1654. Where as complaint was this day made to the court by the humble petition of Anth. Johnson negro agt.

Mr. Robert Parker that he detaineth one John Casar a negro the plaintiff servent (under pretense that the said John Casar is a freeman) the court seriously considering and maturely weighing the principles do find that the said Mr. Robert Parker most instly. Keepeth the said negro (John Casar) from his said
master Anth. Johnson, as appeareath by the deposition of Capt. Sam’ll Goldsmyth and many probable circumstances. Its therefore the judgement of the court and ordered that the said John Casar negro shall forthwith be returned into the service of his said master Anthony Johnson and that the said Robert
Parker make payment of all charge in the suit atr exec. Walczyk, Frank V. transcriber, Northampton County Virginia, Orders, Deeds, & Wills, 1651-1654 Book
IV. Peter’s Row, New York. 1971. Pg.193.

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Some African Slave History: 1st Colonist to Own Slave for Life was Former Black Indentured Servant

Slavery inside Africa was rampant long before Europeans began their infamous slave trade routes. Huge numbers of Africans were enslaved by Africans and when the slave went astray from his Black master’s wishes, the punishment was often harsh. Islam bought and sold/provided slaves under the rule of Islamic law. No one in the early known histories of the planet is void of slavery of one type or the other. In the American colonies of the 1600s, the first slave-for-life as ruled by a court, was owned by a former Black indentured servant, brought here from Angola.

Anthony Johnson was captured by slave traders in Angola. We do not know the color of the slave traders. He was sold as a slave to a White businessman in Virginia and worked in tobacco fields.

At this time in the history of the American/British colonies, slavery was considered “indentured servitude.” There was a contract, and after a period of time, the indentured servant was freed. That’s what happened with Anthony (Antonio) Johnson. Johnson’s owner released him, gave him a plot of land to farm, but before that happened, he married female slave, Mary, who worked on the same plantation. After about 14 years, both were freed and about 15 years later moved to Northhampton County, Virginia where Anthony Johnson became a successful businessman, eventually owning 500 acres and 5 “indentured servants.” Two-hundred and fifty of his 500 acres came from a “headright” claim.

Johnson was sued by one of his indentured servants, John Casor, for being held in servitude beyond his contracted period. Casor lost the case and is documented as the first person in the colonies to be declared a “slave” by a court. In the lawsuit resolution, Johnson received Casor’s servitude as a “servant for life (1653).

John Casor indentured servant

Johnson’s life took many twists and turns but by 1665 he was living in Somerset County, Maryland where he started his tobacco farming business – named TORIES VINEYARDS.

Upon Johnson’s death, his property was seized with a court allowing the seizure by determining that a freed Black man could not be a “citizen of the colony.” His surviving family was allowed to keep some land. Eventually, his grandson lost it all by not paying taxes. Lesson: just because you have been a slave, doesn’t mean you don’t want a slave for yourself.

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