Quincy T. Mills
First Africans, who numbered 20, arrived in English Colonial America in Jamestown, Virginia. Like their English and European counterparts, who came involuntarily or as indentured servants or redemptioners, their labor was sold.
One of the first Africans in the United States, Anthony Johnson and his family secured freedom and acquired land through purchase and the headright system by paying for transportation of the indentured. The Johnsons cultivated tobacco.
The Dutch granted land to the first 11 African Americans brought to their colony at New Netherlands. The land given to the black settlers included property that today lies in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village.
A Maryland law stated, under which the Calvert v. Wynne et al. case was decided, ‘‘[N]oe person … shall trade, barter, commerce, or game, with slaves without the owner’s permission.’’
A chair-making enterprise was established by a free African in Massachusetts.
In the Carolinas, a law prohibited African Americans from engaging in any trade or business.
In New England, Emanuel Manna and wife Mary Baroon, slaves who bought their freedom, opened a catering establishment in Providence, Rhode Island, and an oyster and alehouse in Providence.
A South Carolina slave code reveals that slaves had escalated their trading activities.