You have probably heard people say that the only true “Americans” were the Indians. Everyone else has ancestors who went there from some other country. The Negroes, too, originally went there from other countries. But what most people do not know is that the first Negroes to come to America came explorers!
They came with the Spanish, the French, and the Portuguese, who went there on voyages of discovery. There were Negroes with Balboa when he discovered the Pacific Ocean, and with Cortez when he explored Mexico. Negroes explored with the Spanish, French, and Portuguese into the interior of North America, going into New Mexico, Arizona, and the Mississippi Valley. It was a Negro who introduced the raising of wheat to the New World.
Later on, of course, Negroes went to the New World in quite a differ- ent way—they were brought there as slaves. In 1619, a Dutch vessel brought 20 Negroes to Jamestown, Virginia, who were sold by their captain for provisions he needed.
At the time, many white people went to America to work as “indentured” servants. This meant they sold their service for a set length of time. But when white indentured servants stopped coming from Europe, many Negro slaves were brought into the colonies. This started in 1688, and by 1715 there were over 58,000 Negro slaves there. By 1775, this number had grown to over 500,000.
In 1807, at the request of President Thomas Jefferson, Congress voted that no more slaves should be brought into the country. But many were brought in against the law. By 1860, just before the Civil War, the Negro population of the United States was about 4,400,000.
Who Was The First Black Person On Television?
Nat King Cole was the first African American entertainer with a network television series (1956–57).