Anthony Johnson; American's First Slave Owner

kaylarStarred Page By kaylar, 29th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

How African Slavery was legalised in the United States

Exploding the Myth

Students of American History are taught that in 1619 the first Africans arrived in Jamestown. The inference is that they were slaves.

This is untrue.
This can be proven to be untrue.

It persists because is it a bit less painful that the truth.

Indentured Servitude

Labour in what would become the United States was supplied by Indentured Labourers. These were persons who, for whatever reason, would have their passage paid and then be bound to work for a 'master' for a period of years.

At the end of the period the Indentured Labourer was freed; given a piece of land, supplies, a gun, and become part of the colony.

The Africans which arrive in 1619 were treated as indentured servants. They were fed, housed, worked and were freed.


Antonio was born in Angola. He came to America on a ship called the James in 1621. He was sold as an Indentured servant to an Englishman named Bennett and worked for twelve years in the colonial settlement of Jamestown.

He was freed, changed his name to Anthony Johnson.

He had married an African woman who took the name of Mary and acquired 250 acres of land. Two of his sons, John and Richard, were also able to acquire land once they became adults.

Anthony Johnson used African Indentured labourers. One of them was John Casar.

The Right of a Citizen to Bring a Matter before the Court

Expecting to be released from his indenture to Anthony Johnson, John Casar arranged to work for a white neighbour, Robert Parker.

Anthony Johnson brought the matter before the Court, claiming that John was not a servant but a slave.

The Court heard evidence from Johnson, from Parker, from Casar.

The fact Johnson could bring a matter to court and be heard is cogent proof he was seen as a citizen of the colony with all the rights of a citizen. Including the right to bring a matter before the Court, and give evidence.

The Year was 1654

The early settlers of what would become the United States had made treaties with the Native Americans. These treaties concerned land.

With so many indentured servants being freed, with so much land being required, the borders defined by treaty were breached.

The Native Americans fought to regain their land, the Settlers fought against the Native Americans to keep the land they had captured.

In settlements in which the treaties were respected, (such as those in Virginia) there grew up a great underclass of landless people, White and Black, who had no where to go and no work to do.

Anthony Johnson now offers a solution.
Declare all Africans to be slaves for life.
No need to import indentured servants.

The Court ruled in favour of Anthony Johnson, against the petition of Parker, a wealthy white planter. John Casar was a slave.

The Result

Slavery was now legalised. No need to bring in any more Europeans. Use African labour. Slave Trading became the new hot industry.

With Slave traders, Slave renters, Slave Transporters, Slave Farms, at least half of the population in the South had an economic base which stood firmly on Slavery.

From 1654 until 1864; two hundred and ten years, slavey existed in the United States.
And all because of Anthony Johnson.


Anthony-Johnson, Indentured Servant, John-Casor, Slave, Slavery, Virgina

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author avatar kaylar
I am passionate about history, culture, current events, science and law

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author avatar Set Free
30th Jul 2011 (#)

How humanity closed theirs eyes and did this is like something from outer zones. Good report and I never, ever knew this.

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author avatar kaylar
30th Jul 2011 (#)

It is well documented. There are a lot of records. Odd how it just got forgotten

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author avatar Robb714
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Even more odd is how prevalent slavery is today around the world and even in the US and no one seems to be concerned at all, not one bit. I personally would rather have been a slave then, than now. A very good article on slavery, non the less, thanks.

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author avatar kaylar
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Thanks Robb...yeah, slavery still exists. We ignore it tho. Put a doily over the stain.

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author avatar Jack figgins
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Yes,it does look at us Americans we are slaves to this present administration and government,think about it.

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author avatar Lance Kayton
13th Sep 2016 (#)

Outstanding work of science fiction but not true. Antonio isn't an African name for starters. He was brought as a slave but forced to work a indenture servant. John Punch became the first documented slave in 1640. In 1641, slavery was legalized by Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop. Here is the link proving this to be true

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