Anthony Johnson: Not the First Slave Owner

Excellent research from blogging extraordinaire Al Mackey on the fallacious claim that a black man–Anthony Johnson–was the first slaveholder in what would become the United States. I wrote about Johnson in 2014 here: https://pastexplore.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/american-history-doesnt-start-at-jamestown/

Student of the American Civil War

I’m sure many of you have seen the phony claim neoconfederates often put forward that a black man, Anthony Johnson, was the first slave owner in Colonial America. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve already dealt with this phony claim here.

In this post I’d like to share some additional information uncovered during my research. Recall Anthony Johnson’s case against John Casor was in 1655. “As early as 1639 we hear of a Negro slave in Pennsylvania. In 1644 Negroes were in demand to work the lowlands of Delaware. … Negro slaves were sold in Maryland in 1642. … There is evidence to show that the status of the Negro was at first very closely affiliated with that of the white servant with whom the colonists were thoroughly familiar and who stood half way between freedom and complete subjugation. It is probable, therefore, that both Indian and…

View original post 1,410 more words

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4 responses

  1. Yes, let’s be sure that we’re sharing the truth about the history of slavery, not fictitious claims. Thank you!

  2. Such debates over the “firsts” are always problematic and generally inaccurate. History is about processes, not events.

    And regardless of other factors, enslavement and racism toward Blacks is an undeniable historical truth. People who try to suggest that Johnson was the first are only trying to excuse their racism.

  3. People also overlook how interesting Johnson is and how he helps explain aspects of how enslavement and racism evolved or were transplanted in different parts of the United States.

    1. Agree 100% Andrew, it’s a really fascinating history within the development of the concept of race in the Americas.

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