T.H. Breen’s and Stephen Innes’s book “Myne Owne Ground” did an outstanding job of showing readers the differences in perspectives of African people living in Virginia, one of the thirteen original colonies. It went in depth and showed how an indentured African person was competent and was capable of acquiring a wealth comparable to what a wealthy white person has. However, it would never be recognized by the general white population. There are two main themes in this book, whether the society, which was introduced in this book, was color blind or not. On one hand, the authors made an argument that the African people was able to live normally and be viewed as relatively equal to white if they were rich and owned plenty properties. On the other hand, after the Virginia slave codes passed, African people were treated unfairly by the society at that time.
First of all, the society in Virginia was a color-blind society for those African people who were wealthy. This could be seen from families of Anthony Johnson and Emanuell Driggus. Families like theirs were able to collect enough wealth to purchase their own freedom or earn their freedom by working for their “masters”. Also, after they amassed enough wealth, they setup plantations on Virginia’s eastern shores. Moreover, they were even able to purchase slaves and indentured servants as the other white people did. Most importantly, they were treated with justice in the colonial courts. For example, when Johnsons encountered “‘an unfortunate fire’” in February 1653, the court gave Mary and Johnson’s two daughters a financial relief. From this incident, we can easily see that “ By specifically excusing the three black women from public levies, the justices made it clear that, for tax purposes at least, Mary and her daughters were the equals of any white woman in Northampton County” (p12). There were lots of examples that could be used for proving that Virginia colony was a color-blind society, such as John Casor...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document