[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Wed Nov 1 16:37:30 MST 2006

The question of whether black and white servants in Virginia is a fairly
easy matter to resolve by looking at legal documents and the application
of the law to members of the colony.

Virginia court records from the first half of the 1600s show that blacks
and whites who committed the same crimes received different punishments.

Other documents show: 

- whereas white servants had their term of service amended by a few to
several years, blacks did not; this was because permanent servants
cannot have their terms of service extended; 

- punishments were meted out for interracial coupling; what nonracist
reason is there for this?; 

- black and white servants were listed separately in public records;
what nonracist reason is there for this?;
- blacks were restricted from owning firearms (for the same reason the
Irish were?  Yes, because the Irish were racialized, too, and their
innate tendency to rebel was one of these racial characteristics).

Records from Maryland show the same thing.

Whatever the fate of those twenty Africans who were brought to
Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 - records show that twenty "Negers" arrived
on a Dutch ship - within their life-times all Africans brought into in
Virginia were slaves.

(It's interesting how Africans are refered to as "black" and "Negro" in
all the records from the beginning of British experience with Africans.
There's a reason for that.)

-----Original Message-----
From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu] On Behalf Of gregory
Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 5:15 PM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

I think what you say is false.

white and black servants were not treated by (whom?) property
owners--some of whom were black as allen shows-- as essentially
different at this time.  in the caribbean, the irish sent to the islands
were certainly not treated differently.  in fact, the irish were barred
from the militia because of their proneness to rebel.  you can find this
in allen, blackburn or linebaugh/rediker.  africans were privileged over
the so called "white" irish in this respect.

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