If there is a beginning date for African Americans in the United States, it would be August 20, 1619. On this day a little over four centuries ago, approximately 20 Africans became the first African Americans when they arrived aboard a Dutch Ship as captives in Jamestown, Virginia.
The Africans were initially taken aboard a Spanish ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the ship was seized by the Dutch and the Africans were stolen and taken to America to be traded as mere merchandise instead of men and women with souls and a home far from the shores of Virginia. Historians have concluded they these first African Americans may have actually been sold as indentured servants instead of slaves.
One thing is for sure, they were the first of many to come from Africa to America as men, women and children without freedom. There were over 597,000 Africans brought to America as slaves from 1620 to 1865. The 1860 census indicates that there were 4 million slaves living in the United States.
Words That Matter
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"We Are Not Makers Of History. We Are Made By History."
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