Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From Indentured Servitude to Racial Slavery

We sometimes imagine that such oppressive laws were put quickly into full force by greedy landowners. But that's not the way slavery was established in colonial America. It happened gradually -- one person at a time, one law at a time, even one colony at a time.

One of the places we have the clearest views of that "terrible transformation" is the colony of Virginia. In the early years of the colony, many Africans and poor whites -- most of the laborers came from the English working class -- stood on the same ground. Black and white women worked side-by-side in the fields. Black and white men who broke their servant contract were equally punished.

But that is not the way it remained.

To read about how this transformation happened: Click Here.

This segment is part of a larger PBS production on slavery in America. To start from the beginning: Click Here.

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