African Americans at Jamestown
The first documented "20 and Odd" Blacks that arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in August of 1619 are not known to have been immediately enslaved. As an institution, slavery did not exist in Virginia in 1619. Slavery as we know it today, evolved gradually, beginning with customs rather than laws. To further shed light on how this institution evolved legally, from indentured servitude to life long servitude, the following laws and/or facts are given as well as other sources on 17th century servitude among Blacks in Virginia.
SUGGESTED FOR FURTHER READING
Billings, Warren M. Ed. The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century - A Documentary History of Virginia, 1606-1689. University of North Carolina Press, 1975
Breen, T.H., and Innes, S. "Myne Owne Ground" - Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676. New York: Oxford University Press: 1980
Craven, Wesley F. White, Red and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian, Charlottesville, 1961.
Hening, William W. Ed. The Statues at Large: Being a Collection of all Laws of Virginia, from the first session of the Legislature in the year 1619. 13 Volumes Richmond, New York and Philadelphia, 1809-1823.
Hughes, Sarah and Zeigler, J. Jamestown's Other People, Children's Program Teachers Manual, , Colonial National Historical Park, 1976.
McLLwaine, H.R. Minutes of the Council and general Court of Colonial Virginia, 1622-1632, 1670-1676, with notes and excerpts from the original Council and General Court records, Now Lost. Richmond, vVirginia1924.
Russell, John H. The Free Negro Property Owner in Virginia, 1619-1865. (Out of Print)
Vaughan, Alden T. "Blacks in Virginia: A Note on the First Decade" The William and Mary Quarterly, XXIX, July 1972.
Now available online from the National Park Service is Martha W. McCartney's A Study of Africans and African Americans on Jamestown Island and at Green Spring, 1619 - 1803.
Did You Know?
Dendrochronology, the study of tree rings, indicates the Jamestown colonists arrived during the worst drought period in over 800 years for the lower Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.