American Evolution Series: Commemoration of the First African Landing

by Monica Mitchell | Posted: Jul 24, 2019

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In August 1619, “some 20 and odd” Africans arrived at Point Comfort, site of Fort Monroe in Hampton, after being forced from their villages in present-day Angola and pushed onto a Portuguese slave ship headed for the New World.

Nearing its destination, the slave ship was confronted by two English ships, the White Lion and the Treasurer, and robbed of 50-60 Africans. The two English ships then sailed for Virginia where the White Lion arrived first at Point Comfort followed by the Treasurer a few days later. The Africans were sold into bondage despite Virginia having no clear laws acknowledging slavery until 1661.

Far from their home in Angola, these farmers, blacksmiths, herders, and artisans survived capture and displacement and helped a fledgling nation survive. To honor their survival, endurance, and strength, the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing will take place August 23-25, 2019 at Fort Monroe with exhibits, heritage tours, living history interpretations, children’s activities, storytelling, musical performances, and much more.

2016 African Arrival Day

2016 African Arrival Day event at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. Credit: Glossy Productions

 

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL PIONEERS LUNCHEON 

Friday, August 23 – Noon to 3:00 p.m.

Hampton Convention Center | Ticketed Event

 

FIRST AFRICAN LANDING COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY 

Saturday, August 24, 2019 – 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Continental Park, Fort Monroe | Public Event

 

FIRST AFRICAN LANDING CULTURAL ACTIVITIES 

Saturday, August 24 – 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fort Monroe | Public Event

Cultural displays, exhibitors and vendors, children’s activities, musical performances, storytelling, drumming and dancing, and food trucks.

Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe National Monument

 

PROJECT 1619: 12TH ANNUAL AFRICAN LANDING DAY COMMEMORATION

Saturday, August 24, 2019 – Noon to 3:00 p.m.

Continental Park, Fort Monroe | Public Event

 

FIRST AFRICAN LANDING CONCERT 

Saturday, August 24 – 6:30 p.m.

Hampton Coliseum |  Ticketed Event (FREE)

 

DAY OF HEALING AND GOSPEL MUSIC FESTIVAL 

Sunday, August 25 – 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Continental Park, Fort Monroe | Public Event

 

To find out more information the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing weekend events, please visit HamptonVA2019.com. For more in-depth historical information on the Arrival of the First Recorded Africans to English North America, please visit Encyclopedia Virginia.

 

 

AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ commemorates the 400th anniversary of several key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.
 

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