By Mario Alexis Portella | The First Slave Owner in America : Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) said late Tuesday: “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”
The Senator’s statement was not just historically preposterous but inflammatory, just as those who incorrectly insist that the first enslavement of Africans in the Americas began in 1619—this was part of the crusade by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who accompanied by Representative Ilham Omar, travelled to Ghana last July to speak about the 400-year-old slave trade from Africa to the New World.
All this is nothing but a capitulation to those, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Senator Cory Booker who are seeking a slavery reparations bill for a financial compensation by the “white” people. Just this past week, the UN’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, urged countries to confront the legacy of slavery and colonialism and to make amends for “centuries of violence and discrimination” through reparations.
What the aforementioned politicians and their backed associates willingly fail to point out is that the slavery of Africans in America was a slave trade. In other words, assuming Kaine in his speech was referring to the enslavement of blacks, the aforementioned politicians and their liberal cronies willingly refuse to admit that the slave trade originated from Africa. Instead of holding those African nations accountable, they put exclusive blame on white men, notwithstanding that Africans willingly captured innocent men, women, and children and sold and transported them to the New World.
The First Slave Owner in America : What BLM has to say about it
Another point BLM and the left, in their revisionist presentation of history fail to disclose is that blacks owned black slaves in America as early as 1654 right up to the U.S. Civil War.
There is the infamous account of Anthony Johnson, who in 1621 arrived from Africa to Virginia to be an indentured servant, not a slave. He was captured by Muslim traders in his native Angola and sold as a slave. After he had completed his service of agreement in 1635, he acquired 250 acres of land. As a land owner he started using indentured servants himself, acquiring five. In 1654 one of his servants, a black man by the name of John Casor was due for release from his service. Johnson decided to extend his service and Casor left to work for Robert Parker who was a free white man. That year Johnson sued Parker in Northampton Court, and in 1655 the court ruled that Johnson could hold Cason indefinitely. The court gave sanction for blacks to hold slaves of their own race. This made Anthony Johnson the first black American slave owner and John Cason the first slave in the American colonies. It was another 15 years before the colonial assembly granted free whites, blacks and Indians permission to own black slaves.
In R. Halliburton’s Free Black Owners of Slaves: A Reappraisal of the Woodson Thesis, Halliburton writes that free black people owned black slaves “in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery.” And it did not stop there.
In fact, for a time, free black people could even “own” the services of white indentured servants in Virginia as well. Also according to Halliburton, free blacks owned slaves in Boston by 1724 and in Connecticut by 1783; by 1790, 48 black people in Maryland owned 143 slaves. One particularly notorious black Maryland farmer named Nat Butler “regularly purchased and sold Negroes for the Southern trade.”
John Hope Franklin, in his book The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860, notes that in North Carolina, “there were those who possessed slaves for the purpose of advancing their [own] well-being … these Negro slaveholders were more interested in making their farms or carpenter-shops ‘pay’ than they were in treating their slaves humanely…. [T]here was some effort…to elevate themselves to a position of respect and privilege.” As Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University is explained, most black slave owners probably owned family members to protect them, but far too many turned to slavery to exploit the labor of other black people for profit.
It is without say that the darkest part of American history was slavery. And while the number of black slave owners compared to white slaveowners was comparatively minimal, they nevertheless, still existed. And while this does not, in any way shape or form, absolve white slave owners, the surge for reparations from white people—as if today’s Americans are guilty for the past sins of others—is not just hypocritical but divisive to our country.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is author of Islam: Religion of Peace – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.