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Why Anthony Johnson Matters In American History

Anthony Johnson was an American slave who gained his freedom in the early 1600s. He is one of the first documented free African Americans in North America. Johnson is significant because he was able to achieve success in spite of the many obstacles he faced as a result of his race. He was able to own land, build a successful farm, and raise a family. He is an important figure in early American history because he represents the potential for African Americans to achieve success in spite of the institution of slavery.

Anthony Johnson was born in Angola, Africa in the early 1600s. He was sold into slavery and brought to the English colony of Virginia in 1621. In 1623, he married another enslaved African woman named Mary. The couple had six children together. In 1640, Johnson was granted his freedom from slavery. He then bought a piece of land and began farming tobacco.

Johnson was a successful farmer and eventually owned over 250 acres of land. He also owned several slaves of his own. In 1654, one of his slaves, John Casor, ran away. Johnson sued his neighbor, Robert Parker, for harboring Casor. This case is significant because it is the first documented case of a slave suing for his freedom in North America. The court ruled in favor of Johnson, and Casor was returned to him.

In 1662, the Virginia Assembly passed a law stating that all children of enslaved women would be born into slavery, regardless of the status of their father. This law was aimed at preventing mixed-race children of slave women and white men from claiming their freedom. Johnson's children were affected by this law, and he was forced to keep them in slavery.

Despite the many obstacles he faced, Anthony Johnson was able to achieve success as a free African American in early America. He is an important figure in our country's history because he represents the potential for African Americans to overcome adversity and achieve success.