I read a thought-provoking article a short time ago. Did you know that the first enslaved black Africans were brought to this country sometime in August of 1619? This was the year before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. Between 20 and 30 Africans were traded for food to colonists from Jamestown by an English privateer named the White Lion. While originally treated as indentured servants who could eventually work their way to freedom, the black people who were brought here in ever greater numbers became locked in a rigid legal caste system for life as lesser human beings with no rights. It even became legal to kill enslaved people for not following orders.
After some slaves revolted in 1676, things even got worse. By the early 18th century, Virginia and other colonies had passed slave codes stripping them of virtually all rights. Masters could do as they pleased with their human property. Rape, beating and whipping were common. The reason for all this was that slaves made their owners rich. In the south planters used them to grow cotton which made up more than half of American exports and fed the looms of the northern factories. In the north, slaves were forced to work as house servants and laborers in all sorts of ways. In 1756, black people made up more than a quarter of the population of New York City and its suburbs. In 1860 there were 3.9 million enslaved black people in the U. S. They built the Capitol and White House and laid nearly 10,000 miles of railroad track which was nearly one third of the nation’s total by the Civil War. The fact that these people, each of them a beloved son or daughter of God who were treated so shamefully by Christians, is what made the U.S. powerful and great is not something that many people want to hear. But it is the truth.