Tobacco, Settlers, and Labor

Slavery is a practice in which human beings are owned by other human beings. In the colonies the earliest slaves included debtors, and prisoners of war. Parents sometimes sold their children and tribal chiefs sold their fellow tribesmen into slavery. For centuries the slave trade was a profitable, thriving industry throughout the world. Slavery in American began in the early 1600’s. It became concentrated in the southern states where agriculture was the predominant industry.

Here in the Northern Neck, tobacco was the cash crop and plantation life revolved around the production of this highly profitable plant. Such a labor intensive operation in the isolated and sparsely populated Northern Neck could not have successfully functioned without forms of slave labor.

Plantation owners struggling to subdue the wilderness and develop their dream of the English country manor system, became dependent upon the labor of African slaves and indentured convicts from the prisons of England.

Without these labor sources to sustain the plantation it is highly improbable that the United States of America would have developed within the time span or in the manner we know it to be today. African-Americans are as much a part of the development, growth, success, health, and wealth of these United States as are the past leadership figures who have been given most of the credit.

This museum is collecting information and assembling a permanent file on the history of African slaves and indentured English convicts in the Northern Neck. You are invited to share your history, genealogy, old correspondence, artifacts, and thoughts with the museum. Membership allows free access to the information available in these interesting and important files.

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