AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: First Free Negro in English America?
In Response To: Florida: First Free Negro in America ()
Thanks for the comprehensive info on St. Aug. I very much enjoyed a history oriented visit to St. Aug. with the live oaks, spanish moss,and air ferns. Prospective on the struggle for La Florida was provided by a visit to Fort Matanzas as well as old St. Augustine.
The source of confusion was the result of my error. It would have been more accurate for me to have stated the subject more clearly.
My interest is specifically in learning more of John Phillip, who was baptized in England. There is record of his existence because a record was made of his court testimony. The issue of the "twenty and odd Negors" has dominated the discourse on People of Color in early Jamestown. John Phillip represents an English freeman or indentured servant who was clearly not white. The right to give court testimony was obviously first provided and then later taken away from people of color by legislation, as racism became the rule in the 1600s.
Was John Phillip the only free Negro or were there others? Was John one of the Moors who had been free in England for centuries, or was he sub-Saharan in origin? Is there record of his baptism in England which might answer some of these questions? What became of John Phillip?
My historical curiosity suggests that there is a history of the free Negro at Jamestown which has been ignored or unknown by academia. An intriging question is whether John Phillip was subsequently enslaved, just as the white German settlers at Jamestown were enslaved. In constructing the "preferred history" of our country, both the free Negro and the first slaves, white slaves,have been conveniently ignored.
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