Black Slavery IntroductionOn December 6th of 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted officially abolishing slavery in the United States. Of course this came nowhere close to ending the suffering, mistreatment, and suppression of the civil rights of African Americans but was in fact a very important event in black history. Now that freedom had been officially declared for all blacks the struggle to insure that freedom and earn civil rights could begin. On this page you will find a list of interesting black slavery history facts; a history that began in the early 1600s and culminated with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Both kids and adults alike should find this information interesting; information including who the first slaves were, why slavery was so important to the southern states, and how blacks fought for their freedom.
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Interesting Black Slavery History Facts
- The first Africans to come to North America did so in 1619 near Jamestown Virginia. They arrive aboard a Dutch ship that had taken them from a Spanish slave ship that had been captured. The ship's captain exchanged the African men for food. It is unclear if the African men were considered slaves or if they were regarded as indentured servants who would, like white indentured servants, earn their freedom after working for a set period of time.
- Some of the first Africans to arrive in America in the early 1600s earned their freedom and some even became property owners.
- The first documented slave in American history was a man named John Punch. In 1640 he was sentenced to life as a slave after attempting to escape from being an indentured servant.
- As the British colonies in North America began to grow during the late 1600s and 1700s the white settlers turned increasingly to black slavery as a cheap source of labor. It is estimated that somewhere between six and seven million Africans were brought to America as slaves in the 1700s.
- Slave owners, in attempt to control their slaves, greatly restricted their freedom; for example most slave owners prohibited their slaves from learning to read and write. Slaves who did not comply with the rules were dealt with very harshly.
- Slave revolts did occur; the most famous being one led by Nat Turner on August 21st 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia. Over fifty white people were killed before the revolt was ended. Nat Turner was hanged and approximately 200 slaves lost their lives during the rebellion and the violence against blacks that occurred immediately afterward.
- After winning their independence from the British, by winning the American Revolution, many American colonist became more sympathetic towards the plight of black slaves. These colonist, especially in the north, began to relate the oppression they had suffered under British control to the oppression of the black slaves.
- Starting in the 1830s and lasting up till the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, officially giving black slaves their freedom, the Abolition Movement gained strength. One of its most important leaders was a free black man; Frederick Douglass.
- Slaves in the pre-Civil War southern United States made up approximately one-third of the total population of the South.