The Piano Lesson Historical Context

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The widespread importation of slaves to America began in the 1690s in Virginia. Although slaves had been imported earlier than this, it was in the 1690s that indentured servants, who sold themselves to masters for contracts of five to eleven years in exchange for the price of their passage from England or Ireland to America and the cost of their keep during their indenture, were increasingly replaced by permanently enslaved laborers. Contrary to popular misconception, the colonists actually preferred indentured servants to slaves, for the latter were a more expensive investment. But after six decades of migration, there were simply not enough English, Irish, and Scots migrants to meet the colonists' demand. The foundation was set for slavery in America: the kidnaping of human beings, their transportation from Africa to Jamaica, the West Indies, and North America, their forced labor in those colonies and later...

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This section contains 982 words
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The Piano Lesson from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.