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Virginia Festival Sheds Light On African Slaves Arrival In America
2019 marks 400 years since African people were transported to America. While many are heading back to Ghana to commemorate the year of return, you can commemorate our ancestors’ arrival to America locally.
While the truth is that we arrived as enslaved people, and it can be a somewhat emotional thing to think of, this Hampton event hopes to bring light to an otherwise dark past.
According to English colonist John Rolfe, some “20 and odd” African men and women arrived at Point Comfort in late August 1619.
The Spanish are said to be the ones who originally took the men and women from West Africa. That ship, called the White Lion, was then seized by the English and brought to Point Comfort. These natives of west central Africa are believed to have been traded for food and supplies and are known to be the first Africans to be brought to North America.
The site of the ship’s arrival is the present site of Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
The Commemoration of the First African Landing will be held on August 23-25. The weekend-long celebration will feature African drumming circles, a day of healing which includes remarks from Michael Eric Dyson, a morning sunrise African naming ceremony and spiritual cleansing conducted by African Queen Mothers, as well as a concert from rapper Common featuring the Sounds of Blackness.
Over the course of the 3-days, attendees can attend panel discussions with speakers like CNN’s Van Jones and Senator Mamie Locke, listen to an original poem written and read by the Queen Nikki Giovanni, as well as local political leaders.
This will truly be an event to attend if you are in or near the area. Most of the events are free, but some do require registration. To learn more about the Commemoration of the First African Landing event you can check the website here.