This series considers contradictions that lie at the heart of the founding of America. The infant democracy pronounced all men to be created equal while enslaving one race to benefit another.
In Virginia in the 1620s, slavery and indentured servitude existed, but there were both white and black servants and slaves. No one was a slave for life; rather, many immigrants to North America agreed to work for a planter for a specific period of time in exchange for their passage to the New World and food and shelter once they arrived. In 1622, a black indentured servant named Anthony Johnson appeared in the historical record. Charles Johnson and Patricia Smith tell his story.
Read excerpts of George William Hunter’s book about the now-disproved idea that traits like intelligence and morality are handed down from generation to generation.
Hamburg, South Carolina, was an all-black town on the border with Georgia, an area that was a stronghold for the Democratic Party. Hearing news of white militias forming in surrounding towns, the intendant (or mayor) of Hamburg, John Gardner, formed an all-black militia of 84 men and, with the following letter, asked the governor to arm them as part of the state’s National Guard.
An article in the Washington Post about the events in Ferguson, published two days after the incident, provides larger context for the shooting."}">An article in the Washington Post about the events in Ferguson, published two days after the incident, provides larger context for the shooting.