Black History Month 2023

1788 1789-1797 1798

Confederation | 1 George Washington | 2 John Adams

African Slavery Cotton Slavery

Chattel Slavery

British Virginia - The first enslaved Africans arrived in the British Colony of VIrigina in 1619.


February 12, 1793
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The United States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. It was signed into law, by George Washington. It was the first law to make the United States a legal slave state.

The United States Constitution made slavery the basis for a new nation. However, there was no law to enforce slavery. This Act made slavery a legal right, with force of law.

This Act made 'free' Black Americans into a legal under-class. More than that, no Black American had legal citizenship, in the United States. At any time, free or not, a Black American had to show documents of their status, to any white who demanded them.

The Act only required a claim that a Black American was a slave. Once the claim was accepted in a court of law, the Black American was legally a slave. Without legal proof, any Black American was a slave, in the United States. With legal proof, a Black American still did not have status as a citizen of the United States.

The Act made all Black Americans into classes of human property. The Act NEVER used the words, slave, slavery, enslavement, bondage, nor forced labor.


March 14, 1794
Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin Awarded Patent

Washington, D. C. - The cotton gin was awarded a patent, by the United States government. It was given to Eli Whitney. The patent was not validated until 1807.

The cotton gin exploded the demand for enslaved labor. It was not the primary cause for the massive increases in cotton production, to come. But, it did remove a key bottleneck, that made slavery very profitable.