Black American how they got to america

"Who? How?"

Today about 39 million people in the USA are black (1). So do you know how they got here? Who brought them here? Those are the question!


In at sixteenth century, white people from European countries such as Portugal, Spain, and Britain started to travel in North and South America. They chopped the forest and cleaned up the land for farms. They were looking people to work on their farms. Where could find them? The answer was Africa. A lot of people were taken from their homes in Africa and brought to North and South America to work on farms and on the roads. Probably 1500 to 1850, European ships carried at least 10 million people from Africa to became slaves in the Americas. They were brought with the ships and those ships were very full and they slave did not have enough food, water, or air. Hundreds of them never reached America, they died on these slave ships (2). In 1619, were brought the first African slave to the North America colony of Jamestown, Virginia. To help in the farms of the crops as tobacco (3).


When the slaves arrived to America, they were sold to white farmers. People from the same family, such as husband and wife, son and daughter and their parents, brothers and sisters were sold to different farmers and they never saw each other again. In the south of the united states the farms were so big. The farms grew cotton and sugar, so the slaves were forced work hard. The slaves had right of food, clothes and houses, but all of them had to stay in the farm, because they belonged to the farmer. A lot of slaves ran away, some of them skip, but others were caught and took back to their farms. They were punished or even killed (4).


The slaves were brought by boats, and the purpose of owners is to hold as many enslaved people as possible, cramming, chaining, and grouping techniques were used to maximize space and make travel more profitable. The slave on the ships were treated very bad, like animal throughout their voyage to new world. They used to travel naked and shackled together with several types of chains. a lot of slaves died, they were separated on the boats, men one side and women another side. Each ship had carried as many as 600 slaves (5).


Senegambia: Senegal and The Gambia today. These Africans became the first blacks in America as slaves. Most of the South American black slaves came to Brazil and other countries from The Congo and Angola. 3.6 percent of slaves transported to the New World were brought to America (6)

"Slave in the North"

In the north, colonial slavery had a slow start and over there never got much above 5 percent of the total population. 10 percent of the half million slaves in the thirteen colonies resided in the North, they primarily worked in agriculture. In the North, New York was the state that had more slaves with just over 20,000 followed by New Jersey with 12,000 slaves. The first Northern region to abolish the slave was Vermont, when United states became independent republic in 1777. Others Northern colonies followed the process of gradual emancipation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (7).

"Slave in the South fighting with their owners"

Most slave in America lived in south. They had belonged to their owners and they were treated like a thing, not people. White people could buy and sell slaves just like houses or land. Many slave fought against their owners in Virginia in 1831, but most of them were killed, but the slave owners were afraid that one they slave would win the fight. Some black people wanted to return to Africa. In 1822 a new country was born in West Africa. This was Liberia, a country for people who were once slaves but were now free. In 1808, that was against the law to take slave to Africa and bring them to United State. But the number of slave were increase in the south. In 1860 more than 4 million slaves were in the south and wanted to be free. When the America wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they said that men and women should be free and equal. But the person who wrote the declaration own slave. A lot of countries thought that slave was wrong. In 1807 Britain ended to sell and buy the slaves. America do the same, but only in the North of the Country. In the south the slave owners wanted to keep their slaves, and they were ready to fight for their right to own the slaves. The southern states were ready to go to war for these rights (8).

"The slave in 1800s"

In the 1800s, The experience of enslave for black people was very bad. It’s not only for men, but in general. Both were torn from homeland and family. Both were forced to perform grueling labor, subjected to mental and physical degradation, and denied their most basic rights. The amount of work for both genders was the same, but the differences is the jobs appointed for them. Men usually did the job that included certain skill, such as carpentry and blacksmith. Women were usually working in the fields or as house servants. Slaves were allowed to have families, but the babies that were born on the farms became the property of the masters (9).

If you are interesting to know more about the Black American, you can see its films: 12 years a slave, Amistad, I am slave and you can see TV series called underground.

References (1) Baxter, Alison. The USA. Oxford University Press, 2008. (2) Alan C. McLean. Martin Luther King. Oxford University Press 2008 (3) (4) Alan C. McLean. Martin Luther King. Oxford University Press 2008 (5) (6) (7) (8) Alan C. McLean. Martin Luther King. Oxford University Press 2008 (9)


Created with images by Sebastiaan ter Burg - "Denken / Thinking"

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