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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 5:24pm August 24, 2019,

5 little-known black slaveowners who changed the course of American history

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Anthony Johnson

Early records listed him as “Antonio, a Negro” servant because Virginia had no rules for slaves at the time. A black man believed to be from Angola, Johnson was brought to Virginia as an indentured servant in 1619 and by 1623, he had worked out his period of indenture and had obtained his freedom. He managed to acquire 250 acres of land and started farming. He soon became an accomplished tobacco planter and later employed five indentured servants of his own, one of them being John Casor. When Casor completed his seven years of service and asked for his freedom, Johnson refused but was eventually persuaded by the family of Casor to allow him to work for a white colonist named Robert Parker. Johnson later changed his mind and took matters to court, arguing that Parker had taken his “negro servant.” The court ruled in favour of Johnson, demanding that Casor is returned to his original owner and damages be paid. Casor, thus, became the first person ever to be legally declared as a slave, working for Johnson for the rest of his life. Johnson, through the court decision, also became the first slaveholder in the history of the United States.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 25, 2019


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