Virginia and Slavery
American history has been under close scrutiny recently. The original sin of America, its birth defect, if you will, was the allowance of slavery, which began in 1619. In fact, some on the left are saying that America’s real birth year is 1619, not 1776. Although to my knowledge, no reputable historian believes that, and many have spoken out against this misbegotten theory. But what actually happened in early Virginia and how did they come to accept slavery at all?
Long before there was a Massachusetts, there was a Virginia, which initially went through a number of steps until it became permanent. The first two British attempts to create a settlement in the new world were called Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. These attempts failed including the long lost colony of Roanoke. The original map of Virginia was huge, including many portions of other states using today’s map. In the days of King James I in 1606, a Charter for what would become Jamestown in 1607 was created. The 1606 Charter stated that one of the goals of the colony was in propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness. Perhaps with the failed colonies in mind, this new Charter stated, “Every plantation, which our heavenly father have not planted shall be rooted out.”
The first act of the Jamestown colony was to plant a cross and claim the new land for the Lord. Jamestown was settled by British men, many of whom expected others to do the work. They encountered many difficulties there, including with the Indians, but Pocahontas, the daughter of an Indian chief, became a believer. Her baptism as Lady Rebecca is the subject of a giant painting in the rotunda of the US Capitol to this day.
Jamestown experienced a starving time and nearly shut down until a ship from England saved the day. Also, tobacco became their number one staple of surviving financially.
Jamestown had a church, became the first colony to issue a day of Thanksgiving in 1619, 2 years before the Pilgrims. It also became the first colony in the new world to create a legislature which met for the first time in 1619 in the church in Jamestown and opened in prayer.
Tragically, something happened in Jamestown in 1619 that would forever alter the course of America. A handful of slaves from Africa were brought into the new colony.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth, we were here.
Evangelist Alveda King:
In America, when we consider the concept of slavery, where one race of people was forced into servitude in slavery, we think about that concept of racism based upon the slavery of the black race. However, there’s no black race, yet red race, yellow race, white race. There are only people groups and people families. So when Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about mans in humanity to man, Martin Luther King, Jr. was not thinking about separate races. He was thinking about how one group or one family of people could take another family of people and oppress them because of skin color and call them an inferior race. There’s no such thing as an inferior race cause we are the human race.
Dr. Walter Williams:
Slavery has been mankind’s standard fair throughout it’s entire history. And even the word slave in most languages is slav. That is because Slavic people were among the first to be enslaved. And Africans were among the last to be enslaved. And the great thing about the Western world is that we spent many resources on eliminating slavery.
I have no idea why my great-great-grandmother was a slave. I do know one thing, that my great grandmother died when she was 102 years old. And she was a big part of the old hymns that I sing like blessed assurance near the cross. Jesus, keep me near the cross, pass me not, oh gentle savior. My great-grandmother sung no songs because of the bondage that they were in, but it was the soul, it was the spirit that brought them out.
Some today are trying to claim that the entire American experience should be defined by slavery. The 1619 project of the New York Times claims that America’s real birth year is 1619, with the arrival of the first African slaves, not 1776. Bob Woodson, a civil rights leader and the founder of the Woodson center, organized 1776 Unites, a group of American history scholars to counteract the 1619 project. Said Woodson about the 1619 project, “They are trying to define America by its birth defect of slavery and Jim Crow. And our counter is that no individual or nation should be judged by the worst of what they used to be. America is a country of redemption.” For Providence Forum, I’m Jerry Newcombe.