Before you jump to any conclusions, this article in no way aims to diminish the fact that slavery existed in America nor does it attempt to ignore any of the facts about slavery and its effects on Black America. This article specifically challenges a popular aspect of the Black American narrative which is the idea that Black people have been or were enslaved in America for 400 years. The claim or belief that Black Americans have been enslaved in America for 400 years is a myth (a lie). The claim is completely unsubstantiated. Black people were not and have not been enslaved for 400 years in America.

So, let’s begin with the origin of the 400 years of slavery myth. The myth (lie) is rooted in the Christian bible and is a Christian belief:

Genesis 15:13
Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.”

That is the root and origin of the claim that Black people were enslaved in America for 400 years. Now, let’s analyze this.

  • Genesis 15:13 is not part of a prophecy from an African tribe or culture.
  • Genesis 15:13 does not say when the 400 years of slavery would happen.
  • Genesis 15:13 does not say where that foreign land is located.
  • The character Abram/Abraham was a Jew and Jewish culture/heritage/history is not the culture/heritage/history of any African tribes that captured and sold Black Africans as slaves nor is it the culture/heritage/history of any of the slaves.
  • The character Abram/Abraham has never been proven to be a real person.

They had bibles in the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. So, these questions are relevant:

  • Did slaves in the 1500s believe that they were enslaved for 400 years at that point in time?
  • Did slaves in the 1600s believe that they were enslaved for 400 years at that point in time?
  • Did slaves in the 1700s believe that they were enslaved for 400 years at that point in time?

There are empirical facts that prove the timeline of the history of slavery in America:

  • America is less than 300 years old.
  • In 1655, chattel slavery began (started by a Black man named Anthony Johnson).
  • In 1865, slavery ended in America.
  • The first Blacks in America were not chattel slaves.
  • Indentured servitude is not chattel slavery.
  • 1655 (chattel slavery legalized) to 1865 is 210 years, not 400 years.
  • 1619 (first African slaves brought to Virginia) to 1865 is 246 years, not 400 years.

Given the facts, the claim that Black people were enslaved for 400 years is completely unsubstantiated and unquantified. It is a lie that is perpetuated by people that are ignorant of the facts and wish to maintain a false narrative in order to align that narrative with Christian beliefs. So, why is it important to set the record straight and arrest the 400 years of slavery lie? Because it distorts the historical view of America, Blacks in America, and the slavery era. Lies are not required for the truth or to deal with reality. Saying that Black people were enslaved for 400 years is like having somebody strike you with their fist but reporting that your head was cut off. It is not difficult to comprehend the fact that lies do not serve the best interests of an accurate historical record or account. The facts in this article effectively disprove and negate the claim that Black Americans were enslaved for 400 years.

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