August 1619 – America’s First Sin

Written by Jannah Bolds
Editor-In-Chief, The Bold Opinion

Late August 2019 marks the 400th year anniversary of the introduction of African flesh via the African slave trade here in America. 

Honestly, 400 years was not that long ago. Certainly much longer than the fight for civil rights 56 years ago today, and also preceding the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation only 100 years before that. So, it’s definitely safe to say we are still feeling the effects of those dark times in 2019. Some may not agree, but I would challenge them to look deeper than themselves in contrast with 20th century modernisms. Pardon my digressions, this is a topic for another day!

The first of the abducted Africans touched ground on the coast of Jamestown, near what’s now called, Hampton, Virginia. This non-fantastic voyage, ironically named “The White Lion”, supposedly brought over a small cargo of approximately 30 slaves just to “test the waters”. The First Virginia Charter, is what the trip was named, and was intended to replicate the indigent servitude of Africans and poor Europeans in England that started around 1562. Europeans of Jamestown needed help getting things jumping and knew where to get cheap labor. They did this with intentions to also propagate the Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God (Howard, 2019, p. 14). 

I’m not even kidding you, that’s what it proclaimed verbatim! Forcibly propagating Christianity as if it were a vine of sweet honeysuckles. 

Wheew
Not sure if y’all are ready for that conversation either. 

From my research, I imagine that a colonizer’s thirst for cheap, chocolate-skinned labor was simply that — cheap labor. Where it didn’t develop into a sweet tooth until things, later, got a bit out of hand.

The purpose of this read wasn’t to guilt trip the descendants of colonizers, but to bring awareness of the times we live in. We, as the descendants of those stolen Africans should be grateful for the sacrifices made for us to walk this land 400 years later. We should not waste any effort to improve and pour love into our people/communities, for this land was built from the blood of our African relatives. They chose to survive for us and that’s what would serve our ancestors the most justice.  

 

References: 

A.E. D. Howard, The Bridge at Jamestown: The Virginia Charter of 1606 and Constitutionalism in the Modern World, 42 U. Rich. L. Rev. 9 (2019).


Photo Credentials:
-Sculpture by Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto Bamfo at the beginning of the National Memorial to Peace and Justice
photo: Human Pictures (Equal Justice Initiative)

- Virginia Murcury
- Pixabay
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