Slave Trade: Clash of the People


A slave is a person owned by another person that does work without being paid. Although inhumane, the slave trade existed for thousands of years and dates back to prehistoric times. The slave trade peaked in Greece and the Roman Empire and came to America when the first slaves arrived in 1619. From then on slaves would have to fight in order to gain the respect and freedom that African-Americans receive in America today. America has come a long way since the slave trade began and although we now have the first African-American president, and things have improved, African-Americans still deal with certain racial prejudices.

  • 1444 – A village of black Africans was attacked by a group of Portuguese and kidnapped to be traded for financial gain. This was the beginning of the slave trade.
  • 1619 – Jamestown, Virginia. The first group of Africans arrived and were sold in the British North American Colonies.
  • 1641 – In Massachusetts written legislation, slaves became chattel slaves, which meant they could be bought and sold solely by their masters.
  • 1662 - 1663 – Slavery was legalized in Maryland and Virginia
  • 1739 – The Stono Rebellion. The largest rebellion by slaves takes place in North Carolina.
  • 1773 – Phyllis Wheatley became the first slave to have a book of poetry published.
  • 1755 – Slave owner John Codman died from being poisoned by his slaves.
  • 1776 – The Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • 1789 – Olaudah Equiana published an autobiography about his time as a slave.
  • 1793 – The first Fugitive Slave Law is passed.
  • 1804 – Haiti is established after the Saint Domingue slave revolt.
  • 1816 – The Abolitionist movement began when Benjamin Lundy founded the Union Humane Society in Ohio.
  • 1831 – Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion that results in over 100 deaths.
  • 1833 – Canada abolishes slavery.
  • 1834 – The British Emancipation Act abolishes slavery.
  • 1836 – Angelina Grimke and her sister, Sarah, became the first women to publicly argue in order to abolish slavery.
  • 1837 – Pennsylvania Hall is burned down by abolitionists during an anti-slavery rally.
  • 1839 – Joseph Cinque led a revolt on the Amistad, a slave ship, which held 53 Africans. The ship was captured and the slaves were given their freedom.
  • 1845 – Frederick Douglass gained notoriety after publishing his autobiography.
  • 1847 – Frederick Douglass starts an abolitionist paper called the North Star.
  • 1850 – The Second Fugitive Slave Law is passed.
  • 1850 – Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin to educate people about the brutality of slavery.
  • 1851 – Harriet Tubman made her first expedition after joining the Underground Railroad. Eventually she helped almost 300 slaves escape to freedom.
  • 1851 – Sojourner Truth begins preaching to the North and becomes an abolitionist after changing her name from Isabella Van Wagener.
  • 1856 – Henry Brown mailed himself in a box in order to free himself from slavery.
  • 1859 – John Brown headed the raid on Harper’s Valley, Virginia.
  • 1861 – The first guns are fired, beginning of the Civil War.
  • 1862 – First of the Black Union forces are organized in South Carolina.
  • 1863 – Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in which all slaves were declared free.
  • 1865 – Ku Klux Klan, a hate group, is formed in Tennessee.
  • 1865 – Mississippi enacts black codes which limit the rights of African-Americans.
  • 1865 – The Civil War ends with the surrender of the Confederate Army.
  • 1865 – The Thirteenth amendment is added to the Constitution
  • 1870 – The Fifteenth amendment is passed giving black men the right to vote.
  • 1871 – Octavius V. Catto is assassinated by a white man trying to discourage black voting.
  • 1872 – William Still published The Underground Railroad recounting the events he lived through while escaping slavery with his family at a young age.
  • 1884 – Ida B. Wells-Barrett refused to give up her seat on a train and she was physically dragged out. She sued the company but lost the case.
  • 1888 – Brazil is the last country to abolish slavery.
  • 1901 – Booker T. Washington, born into slavery, is the first African-American to be invited to have dinner with the President.
  • 1906 – Atlanta erupted in racial violence and white mobs attacked African-Americans which became known as the Atlanta Race Riots. 
  • 1955 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began working to change America and how African Americans were treated.
  • 1955 – Brown vs. the Board of Education. The basis of school desegregation is implemented with no set deadline and states are ordered to implement their schools with “all deliberate speed.”