Archive | Free People of Color

Those Dreadful Borderers

“Carolina,” wrote Virginia Governor Thomas Culpeper in the 1680’s, “(I meane the North part of it) alwayes was and is the sinke of America, the Refuge of our Renagadoes.” The Rev. John Urmstone, minister of a local parish from 1710 to 1721, described the area as “an obscure corner of the world inhabited by the […]

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Bacon’s Rebellion and the Beginnings of the Racial Caste System

No one would have called Nathaniel Bacon a populist. He was, in fact, an ambitious young aristocrat who thought   that Virginia’s Governor Berkeley and his associates were too common for the positions they held. But in Virginia in 1676, there were plenty of discontented people with grievances for him to exploit. By 1660, two generations after Jamestown was founded,the […]

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Forgotten History: The First African-Americans in Virginia

In 1648, two Virginia slaves, Philip Mongon and Domingo Mathews, were loaned by their owner to one of his creditors, for a term of four years. Unfortunately, they “were very stubborn and would not follow his business.” Eventually they refused to work at all, until their owner provided a written agreement stating that if they […]

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