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Timeline: Early Days & Slavery (1400s - 1865)
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1400
A black navigator, Pedro Alonso Niño, travels with Christopher Columbus's first expedition to the New World.

1400
A Dutch ship brings 20 African indentured servants to the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

NPR Learn More: American Slavery
From Talk of the Nation

PBS Learn More: The Terrible Transformation
From Africans in America

1400
One of the earliest slave revolts takes place in Stono, South Carolina. A score of whites and more than twice as many blacks slaves are killed as the armed slaves try to flee to Florida.

PBS Learn More: The Stono Rebellion
From Africans in America

1400
Lucy Terry, a slave, composes "Bars Fight," the first known poem by an African American. A description of an Indian raid on Terry's hometown in Massachusetts, the poem will be passed down orally and published in 1855.

PBS Learn More: Lucy Terry Prince
From Africans in America

1400
The African Baptist or "Bluestone" Church is founded on the William Byrd plantation near the Bluestone River, in Mecklenburg, Virginia, becoming the first known black church in North America.

1400
Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, becomes the first Colonial soldier to die for American independence when he is killed by the British in the Boston Massacre.

PBS Learn More: Crispus Attucks
From Africans in America

1400
The first book by an African American is published (in England) when Phillis Wheatley, then a slave, publishes "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral."

PBS Learn More: Phillis Wheatley's Writings
From Literature and Life

1400
George Washington changes a previous policy and allows free blacks to enlist in the Continental Army. Approximately 5,000 do so. The British governor of Virginia promises freedom to slaves who enlist with the British.

PBS Learn More: What the Revolution Meant for African Americans
From Africans in America

1400
A passage condemning the slave trade is removed from the Declaration of Independence due to pressure from the southern colonies.

PBS Learn More: Declarations of Independence
From Africans in America

1400
The U.S. Constitution is ratified. It provides for the continuation of the slave trade for another 20 years and required states to aid slaveholders in the recovery of fugitive slaves. It also stipulates that a slave counts as three-fifths of a man for purposes of determining representation in the House of Representatives.

NPR Learn More: Slavery and Patriotism
From Morning Edition

PBS Learn More: The Constitution
From Africans in America

1400
Free blacks in New York City found the African Free School, where future leaders Henry Highland Garnett and Alexander Crummell are educated.



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