Introduction The capturing, transporting, and enslaving of Africans on “slave ships” across the Atlantic, to the West Indies and South and North America, began in the sixteenth century. However, it was in 1619 that twenty captured Africans—first classified as indentured servants—from the Portuguese- owned colony of Luanda arrived in the English colony of Jamestown, Vir- ginia, and became the first enslaved people in America. Of the approximately 12.5 million Africans forced to experience the har- rowing Middle Passage, “10.7 million survived and only 388,000 came directly to North America” (Gates 2014). The others were sent to the Carib- bean and South America. Racial chattel slavery expanded through all the English colonies on the cusp of becoming the United States and “grew like a cancer, at first slowly almost imperceptibly, then inexorably, as colonists eager for material gain imported hundreds of thousands of Africans to toil in their fields. During the eighteenth century, slavery became entrenched as a pervasive—and in many colonies central—component of the social order, the dark underside of the American dream” (Kolchin 2003, 4). The American dream, built on the foundational promise embedded in the Declaration of Independence, grants “each man” or person the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although Virginian Thomas Jefferson expressed an antislavery stance, blaming Britain’s policies, in the first draft of the declaration, it was deleted. Jefferson owned more than six hundred enslaved people, more than any other president. Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman, was his mistress and partner of thirty years and the mother of at least six of his children. The social order and the economy of the South became increasingly dependent on racial chattel slavery. By 1837, there were thirteen slave states
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