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The domestic slave trade in Virginia increased dramatically in the early nineteenth century. It became the most lucrative industry in the state, with more money earned by exporting slaves than from tobacco. [38] There were more than 300,000 more female slaves than male slaves because females were used for breeding. White men had sex with enslaved women at will, but as a result, they could get more slaves to raise workers in the field, prompting them to provide health care that would ensure women`s fertility and a successful delivery. Two million slaves are believed to have been transported from Richmond to the Deep South or walked where they were needed to work in the cotton fields. [38] Robert Lumpkin ran his slave prison, where black slaves suffered greatly under his brutal management, near the Richmond Slave Market, which was the largest center of the American slave trade after New Orleans,[74] and the first in slave breeding. [75] Slaves who were freed could be resold into slavery if enough people complained about them. In the early years of the colony`s history, “meritorious service” meant that slaves had to alert the authorities if there were plans for rebellion. Later, it was designed to mean loyalty or exemplary character. [112] Other slavery laws were passed in the seventeenth century and codified in Virginia`s first slave code in 1705,[48] a Servants and Slaves Act.

The Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 stipulated that people who were not Christian or who were black, mixed-race, or Native American were to be classified as slaves (i.e., treated as personal property or movable property), and it was illegal for whites to marry people of color. [50] Slave owners were given permission to punish slaves and would not be prosecuted if the slave resulted. The law established penalties, including flogging and death, for minor offences and for criminal acts. Slaves needed a written authorization, called a passport, to leave their plantation. For more than 200 years, slaves struggled with a variety of horrors, such as physical violence, rape, separation of family members, lack of food, and humiliation. The laws limited their ability to learn to read and write, so they could not have books or Bibles. They had to ask permission to leave the plantation and could only walk for a certain number of hours. In the early days of their American captivity, when they wanted to go to church, they were separated from white parishioners in white churches, or they had to meet secretly in the woods because blacks were not allowed to gather in groups until they could later form black churches. The greatest difficulty was being separated from family members when they were sold; Therefore, they developed coping mechanisms such as passive resistance and created work songs to survive the difficult days in the fields. So they created their own musical styles, including black gospel music and mourning songs.

Slaves were usually held for their lives. The children of enslaved women were enslaved from birth according to the legal doctrine of the partus sequitur ventrem. [33] Some commentators argue that since the model and other documents used the term “servant,” this meant that blacks who landed in Virginia were contract servants. Unlike contract servants, slaves were caught against their will. When slaves were first sold in exchange for food, it was clear that they were considered goods. The term “debt bondage” was often a euphemism for slavery when referring to whites. [36] Black slaves were treated much harsher than white servants. Flogging of blacks, for example, was common. [33] [d] [e] As the slave trade increased, slaves were generally forced to work on large plantations, where their free labor enriched plantation owners.

Colonial Virginia became an amalgam of Algonquin-speaking Native Americans, English, other Europeans, and West Africans, each bringing their own language, customs, and rituals. In the eighteenth century, the plantation owners were the Virginia aristocracy. There was also a class of whites who oversaw slave labor, and a poorer class of whites who competed with freed blacks for labor. Slavery lasted until the passage of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865. There were laws and other practices that restricted the rights and opportunities of African Americans after the Emancipation Proclamation. [12] One of the first Africans to come to Virginia and then be released was Anthony Johnson, who at the time had a contract with John Casor as a contract agent. Casor fulfilled their agreed agreement and worked for another seven years. They went to court, and the judge decided that Casor should be his slave for the rest of his life.

[97] [98] [k] Philip Cowen had worked as a domestic servant for the agreed number of years and expected to be released. Like other blacks, he was forced to sign a document that extended his service. Charles Lucas “with threats and a high hand and by confederation with other people” forced him to sign a document of commitment.