29 Historic Places For Black History Month: Jamestown, Virginia


Jamestown, Virginia

February 10th, 2016

Plaque in Jamestown, Virginia.

Plaque in Jamestown, Virginia. Documenting the Arrival of African Slaves to the “New World”.

why was it historic?

       Jamestown, Virginia where it all began. Slavery, that is, American Slavery started with the Dutch bringing a boatload of “African Gold”  the term that was used to describe African Slaves, around two dozen. The amazing thing about this is they actually stole the Cargo or “soon to be slaves” from a vessel of Spanish or Portugese Slavers on their way to the Caribbean. They Traded the Africans to the English Settlers for food and supplies. The year was 1619, Slavery was informally introduced as Indentured Servitude, (meaning a person would work for free for a period of time usually 4-7 years, until their debt was paid off, then they would be granted their freedom). According to some historians the condition of life long Slavery didn’t start until around 1640. Slavery is Slavery to me no matter how you dress it up.

The settlement of Jamestown was established by the British in 1607 by John Smith (of the pocahontas story). This always makes me laugh when i hear how someone found something that wasn’t missing or already existed. When the English settlers arrived in Jamestown, they noticed that they weren’t alone Native American tribes also called the the tiny Island home. The Settlers engaged in warfare with the Native Americans Indians. With no one to do the manual labor as the Settlers realized it was grueling and hazardous work, a boatload of Africans would eventually takeover the duties of land cultivation among other deeds. This was the way Slavery began and it only grew as the years progressed. Indentured Slavery led to outright Slavery. Slavery in America had reached a peak of almost 4 million when it was finally abolished in 1865.

Location: Jamestown, Virginia

Then photo:

Artist Depiction of the Jamestown Settlement , early 1600's

Artist Depiction of the Jamestown Settlement , early 1600’s

Now Photo:

Jamestown, Virginia Present Day

Jamestown, Virginia Present Day

Commentary:

As African Americans nothing gets us more riled up than the topic of Slavery. Knowing that our ancestors were treated with such disregard and so inhumanely makes talking about it difficult. The Blood, Sweat & tears shed throughout the years. Black people are the backbone of this country in more ways than one and i’m proud to say that. A visit to Jamestown, Virginia would be interesting to say the least, portrayal and truth are two separate aspects of history. I’ll leave you with this, a joke i used to hear growing up.


 

“People like to say that Black people are lazy, how can that be? we just spent the last 300 plus years building the foundation of America. Sh*t, considered this our lunch break, and while you’re at it the food better be free too!”


Whether this type of mentality is justified or not i fully understand the sentiment. Today Jamestown, Virginia is Mostly an archaeological site/museum dedicated to the history of the English settlers mostly, oh and the Native American Indians Somewhat & the Africans barely, that arrived in August of 1619.

www.historicjamestowne.org

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