Summary Drawing The Color Line

“Sails furled, flag dropping at her rounded stern, she rode the tide in from the sea. She was a strange ship, indeed, by all accounts, a frightening ship, a ship of mystery.”(Pg. 23, J. Redding) Without knowing what was to come they looked at the ship with most likely a look of shock. Not knowing what was to come, ahead of their journey and with this beaut they might have thought no need to worry. But she was the beginning of misery.

The chapter goes on about how it was to be a slave, how and why they became slaves or known at the beginning as “servants”. As well as how they differed from white servants and the unfairness of it all. “Probably no ship modern history has carried a more portentous freight. Her cargo? Twenty slaves.” (pg. 23, J. Redding) The start of it all was the ship coming to the land to explore but at the end of the day they left with a great prize enslaved a different race to do something that they couldn’t do.

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They knew that they couldn’t force the Indians to do the work for them, since Columbus wasn’t so successful in that department. They knew if they even tried, since they had such power in their guns, that the Indians would just come back and fire at them but not with guns with their hands or any tools they had. Since they were not use to the new lands and having a hard time staying alive they thought black slaves were the answer.

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Slavery wasn’t legalized yet, so they called them servants even though they had no rights and all they did was work. The start of the regular trade in slaves was fifty years before Columbus; the Portuguese took ten African blacks to Lisbon. (Pg. 26)

The chapter speaks on how it was so easy to enslave a black because they weren’t on their own land and they didn’t fight back like the Indians. The Africans was more advance then Europe just in their own way, their religion was completely different. Which to the Europeans was weird they see that Africans do human sacrifices which are not normal to them. The Africans were skilled in farming. This was what they were looking for. They had the Africans do their work while they relaxed. The Africans had nowhere to go so they couldn’t just up in leave they didn’t know where they were. As far as the difference between a white and black “servant”, well the white servants had way more rights than a black they white servants were able to stop working for their masters at a point and they got paid more. With a black slave they either made little money or none at all and there masters owned them they could keep adding’s years to their sentence if they choose too.

Here’s just a gist of the difference between a black and white servants, when in 1640 three servants tried to run away, the two white were punished with a lengthening of their service. But, as for the court put it, “the third being a Negro named John Punch shall serve his maser or his assigns for the time of his natural life.”(pg. 30) Another case would be in 1640, we have a Negro woman servant who begot a child by Robert Sweat, a white man. The Court ruled “that the said Negro woman shall be whipt at the whipping post and the said sweat shall tomorrow in the forenoon do public penance for his offense at James citychurch…” (pg. 30) So all this is saying is that all Sweat has to do is confess his sins when the woman gets whipped. This is unjust the guy put his penis inside her it’s not like she forced him. With this you see how unjust the world really is and how we treat people just by their skin.

As far as the chapter I mean I’m not going to agree or disagree with it cause how the Europeans treated people was disgusting and no one should have to be ripped from there county because someone is either to lazy or doesn’t know what they are doing so they have other people work for them in unfit conditions. The intentions of the author were to inform us how it really was and how the whites differ from the blacks and why Europeans really need help with things. I didn’t find really anything interesting with this chapter it kind of disgusted me on how societies really are and how people treated other people of a different skin tone. The only thing I found out that I didn’t know what slavery had to be legalized other than that I had the gist of things.

What the blacks went through is extremely sad and people didn’t really look at the big picture of things. The chapter opened my eyes into seeing how the world really was how we treat people differently and continue to treat people differently. This book so far is showing me that our societies past is messed up and how selfish everyone is. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a different color or come from a different ethnic background we are still a human race with the same body’s and body organs. No one person should be treated differently we all should be considered equal.


Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.

The author is Howard Zinn, wrote A People’s History of the United States. The first copy came out in 1980 and continued to update it throughout the years. It was printed in the united states NY, NY. The publishing company was HarperCollins Books. This is the 2005 edition doing chapter 2 Drawing Color Lines. Within this book there is 709 pages but for the chapter it is pages 23-38

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Summary Drawing The Color Line. (2016, Mar 18). Retrieved from

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