The first Africans that were brought to America were not slaves. In fact, they were considered more along the lines of indentured servants much like white immigrants who owned no land. The elite class changed African Americans status by separating them from the rest of the population. They implemented policies in order to make it a "black" and "white" issue to lessen the chance of upheaval. .
In 1619 twenty slaves arrived who had been taught the English language and given Christian names. At this time in the colonies many Europeans died from fever but mostly famine. These Africans worked in the cotton fields along with white indentured servants as equals. One African, Antonio Negro, survived a massacre and went on to own 250 acres of land. He had white indentured servants working his fields and tending to his wishes just like white land owners. However, these times proved very hard for the majority of indentured servants, white and black. They sometimes ran away together and European servants even slept with "Negro" women. This showed that it was more situation of class than race. Things slowly drifted away from equality and into dreary times of separation between whites and Africans. In 1640, Virginia legislature stated to masters to "furnish arms to all men, excepting Negroes." From 1642 African Americans began to be sold for life because the were more "profitable" than whites. The de-humanization begins to take place after the separation took place. Jordan, an aristocratic land owner, makes a comparison between blacks to "great black bucks," in a letter to Thomas Jefferson he stated that they needed to be chained to prevent death and destruction. Bacon's rebellion reinforced many of the elites worries. The "giddy multitude" made up of blacks and un-happy freemen, fought the most-significant rebellion, in colonial America. They lost but this lead to a "color-wall" that was put between normal colonists and African slaves.