were black. Africans. Yes.
I need to include just enough from this article to keep the history, but I am sorely tempted to just copy-and-paste the whole thing.
Back in the mid-1650s, a John Casor, became a slave. He had been an indentured servant (something darn near a slave), but then found himself declared the very first slave for life.
People who survived their period of indenture (many didn’t) went on to live free lives in the colonies, [...]
That was the incentive that caused many poor whites to indenture themselves and their families and move to the so-called New World. But Africans who were indentured were often captured and brought over against their will. That’s what happened to the holder of Casor’s indenture, Anthony Johnson. Johnson served out his contract and went on to run his own tobacco farm and hold his own indentured servants, among them Casor. At this time, the colony of Virginia had very few black people in it: Johnson was one of the original 20.
After a disagreement about whether or not Casor’s contract was lapsed, a court ruled in favor of Johnson and Casor saw the status of his indenture turn into slavery, where he—not his contract—was considered property. Casor claimed that he had served his indenture of “seaven or Eight years” and seven more years on top of that. The court sided with Johnson, who claimed that Casor was his slave for life.
Funny. Too funny.