White Slavery in Early America
“As late as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, continuing shipments of white slaves, some of them Christians, flowed from the booming slave markets on the northern Black Sea coast into Italy, Spain, Egypt and the Mediterranean islands… From Barbados to Virginia, colonists.., showed few scruples about reducing their less fortunate countrymen to a status little different from that of chattel slaves… The prevalence and suffering of white slaves, serfs and indentured servants in the early modern period suggests that there was nothing inevitable about limiting plantation slavery to people of African origin.” (David Brion Davis writing in the New York Review of Books, Oct. 11, 1990, p. 37)
From 1609 until the early 1800s, between one-half and two thirds of all the White colonists who came to the New World came as slaves. Of the passengers on the Mayflower, twelve were White slaves (John Van der Zee, Bound Over, p. 93). White slaves cleared the forests, drained the swamps, built the roads. They worked and died in greater numbers than anyone else.
Both psychologically and materially whites in modern times are called upon to bear burdens of guilt and monetary reparation for black slavery. This position is based entirely on enforced ignorance and the deliberate suppression of the record of white slavery in North America. Hundreds of thousands of Whites had been enslaved during the colonial era in America while millions of others were too poor to afford even a mule, much less a Black slave.
Slave reparations and guilty feelings are due if one subscribes to such a thing as retroactive collective guilt from the descendants of the minority of wealthy whites who owned black slaves and who, in the South at least, were themselves generally reduced to penury in the aftermath of the Civil War. Reparations would also have to be paid by the descendants of the Cherokee and other American Indian tribes who owned Black slaves and by the heirs of Black tribal leaders in Africa who sold them into slavery.
Reparations must also be paid, if the logic of the situation is to be consistent, to the modern-day white descendants of the white slaves of early America.
The whole discussion of black slavery, Southern racism and the Civil War as currently framed by the liberal progressive establishment and race pimp agenda, necessarily must exclude any examination of the fact of white slavery, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the condition of free white poor in the 19th century forced to compete against black slave labor in the South.
In the founding era of colonial America, both White and Black slaves were referred to as “servants.” Once the term slavery came into universal usage (a word derived from the enslavement of Slavic peoples), objective observers of the time who were without mercenary ties to the traffic in white “servants” called them slaves: “Contemporary observers described it as ‘white slavery’ and referred to indentured servants as ‘White slaves.” (Hilary Beckles, White Servitude, p. 71).