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The 1619 Arrival
In commemoration of the 1619 arrival of the first Africans in English North American, "this exhibit tells the story of the Africans' home in Angola, how they came to be enslaved aboard a Spanish slave shop San Juan Bautista, the terrible 10,000 nautical mile voyage that brought them to Virginia, and their lives on the farms and plantations in the new colony."
For more information on this exhibit and the full in-person 1619 Arrival exhibit located at the Hampton History Museum in Hampton VA please visit: 1619: First African Landing.
This exhibit will be on display in the Library's Rockefeller Hall from October 1st through November 4th, 2021. The Library is a card-access building open to the PEA community.
1619: Virginia's First Africans (PDF)
A 14-page report prepared by the Hampton History Museum. The report explores the events leading up to the arrival, the history of early Africans in Virginia, slavery, christianity and indentured servitude.
Many Rivers to Cross: The First Africans in Virginia (video, 3 minutes)
Old Point Comfort in Hampton VA is the original landing site of the first Africans to an English Colony in North America in 1619. Two of the Africans remained at Old Point Comfort and became the servants of Captain William Tucker. Antonio and Isabella married and had a son they named William Tucker and who was the first African American child born in America. Old Point Comfort at Fort Monroe is also noted for the important role it played as "freedom's fortress." In 1861, Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend, three runaway slaves, sought refuge at the Union Fort Monroe and were declared "contrabands of war" by Major General Benjamin Butler. Produced by WHRO Public Media.
The African Americans : many rivers to cross. Episode 1, The black Atlantic : 1500-1800 (video, 56 minutes, PEA login required)
'The Black Atlantic' explores the global experiences that created the African-American people. Beginning a century before the first documented '20-and-odd' slaves who arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, slave and free, who arrived on these shores. The transatlantic slave trade soon became a vast empire connecting three continents. Through stories of individuals caught in its web, the episode traces the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South and examines what the late 18th-century era of revolutions - American, French and Haitian - would mean for African Americans and slavery in America.
Hampton 2019 Commemorative Commission Trailer (video, 3 minutes)
Interviews and images related to Virginia's commemoration of 1619 the first recorded African landing at Point Comfort, located in Hampton, Virginia.
Related Books on Display
1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy by
Publication Date: 2018
1619 offers a new interpretation of the significance of Jamestown in the long trajectory of American history. Jamestown, the cradle of American democracy, also saw the birth of our nation's greatest challenge: the corrosive legacy of slavery and racism that have deepened and entrenched stark inequalities in our society. After running Jamestown under martial law from 1610-1616, the Virginia Company turned toward representative government in an effort to provide settlers with more control over their own affairs and more incentive to invest further in the colony. Governor Edwin Sandys dreamed of creating a real commonwealth, to provide for the interests of settlers and Indians alike. Thus, in late July 1619, the newly-formed General Assembly gathered to introduce "just Laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people." It was the first legislature in America, and history has cast it as the foundation of American freedom and democracy. From that moment on, propertied white colonists became accustomed to freedoms that would have been unthinkable in England with its layers of customs and hierarchy of courts and regulations, and these expanding political and economic freedoms attracted countless British immigrants and other Europeans to Virginia and the American colonies. But those very freedoms also permitted the wholesale and largely unchecked exploitation of poor white laborers and non-European peoples. More than nine-tenths of all those arriving in Virginia at this time were brought in some form of servitude or labor contract. In a cruel irony, 1619 also saw the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia. The establishment of the General Assembly did nothing to ameliorate these disparities, but rather put ever more power in the hands of local grandees. Sandys's dream of creating a commonwealth in the interests of settlers and Indians proved short-lived. But the twin pillars of democracy-the rule of law and representative government based on the consent of the people-survived and flourished. It was his greatest legacy to America. What was lost was his steadfast conviction that serving the common good served all. This is a pattern we recognize all too well in modern American society-opportunities are not shared, inequality is rampant, racism is systemic. We would like to think these are problems that can be solved by expanding representative democracy; Jamestown teaches us, instead, that these are problems have long been created and encouraged by American democracy. Casting a skeptical eye on deeply-cherished myths, 1619 will be essential reading for anyone struggling to understand the paradox of American freedom.
Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 by
Publication Date: 2016
This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands. David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the "Africanization" of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain's colonization of the Caribbean.
The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550-1624 by
Publication Date: 2012
In response to the global turn in scholarship on colonial and early modern history, the eighteen essays in this volume provide a fresh and much-needed perspective on the wider context of the encounter between the inhabitants of precolonial Virginia and the English. This collection offers an interdisciplinary consideration of developments in Native America, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Chesapeake, highlighting the mosaic of regions and influences that formed the context and impetus for the English settlement at Jamestown in 1607. The volume reflects an understanding of Jamestown not as the birthplace of democracy in America but as the creation of a European outpost in a neighborhood that included Africans, Native Americans, and other Europeans. With contributions from both prominent and rising scholars, this volume offers far-ranging and compelling studies of peoples, texts, places, and conditions that influenced the making of New World societies. As Jamestown marks its four-hundredth anniversary, this collection provides provocative material for teaching and launching new research.
The Birth of Black America: The FIrst African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown by
Publication Date: 2006
The voyage that shaped early America was neither that of the Susan Constant in 1607 nor the Mayflower in 1620. Absolutely vital to the formation of English-speaking America was the voyage made by some sixty Africans stolen from a Spanish slave ship and brought to the young struggling colony of Jamestown in 1619. It was an act of colonial piracy that angered King James I of England, causing him to carve up the Virginia Company's monopoly for virtually all of North America. It was an infusionof brave and competent souls who were essential to Jamestown's survival and success. And it was the arrival of pioneers who would fire the first salvos in the centuries-long African-American battle for liberation. Until now, it has been buried by historians. Four hundred years after the birth of English-speaking America, as a nation turns its attention to its ancestry, The Birth of Black America reconstructs the true origins of the United States and of the African-American experience.
A Black Women's History of the United States by
Publication Date: 2020
A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are--and have always been--instrumental in shaping our country 2021 NAACP Image Award Nominee- Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction Honorable Mention for the 2021 Organization of American Historians Darlene Clark Hine Award A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are-and have always been-instrumental in shaping our country In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today. A Black Women's History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women's lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices- enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women's history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation.
Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americans, 1585-1660 by
Publication Date: 2007
This book establishes Central Africa as the origin of most Africans brought to English and Dutch American colonies in North America, the Caribbean, and South America in their formative period before 1660. It reveals that Central Africans were frequently possessors of an Atlantic Creole culture that included adaptation of Christianity and elements of European language, especially names and material culture. It places the movement of slaves and creation of the colonies within an Atlantic historical framework, including showing interactions among Africa, Europe, and all of the Americas. It explores the development of attitudes toward race, slavery, and freedom as they developed in the colonies of England and the Netherlands, and it revises earlier discussions on these issues. The book suggests ways in which this generation of Africans helped lay the foundations for subsequent development of African-American culture in all the colonies of these countries.
A Fistful of Shells by
Publication Date: 2019
By the time the "Scramble for Africa" among European colonial powers began in the late nineteenth century, Africa had already been globally connected for centuries. Its gold had fueled the economies of Europe and the Islamic world for nearly a millennium, and the sophisticated kingdoms spanning its west coast had traded with Europeans since the fifteenth century. Until at least 1650, this was a trade of equals, using a variety of currencies--most importantly, cowrie shells imported from the Maldives and nzimbu shells imported from Brazil. But, as the slave trade grew, African kingdoms began to lose prominence in the growing global economy. We have been living with the effects of this shift ever since. With A Fistful of Shells, Toby Green transforms our view of West and West-Central Africa by reconstructing the world of these kingdoms, which revolved around trade, diplomacy, complex religious beliefs, and the production of art. Green shows how the slave trade led to economic disparities that caused African kingdoms to lose relative political and economic power. The concentration of money in the hands of Atlantic elites in and outside these kingdoms brought about a revolutionary nineteenth century in Africa, parallel to the upheavals then taking place in Europe and America. Yet political fragmentation following the fall of African aristocracies produced radically different results as European colonization took hold. Drawing not just on written histories, but on archival research in nine countries, art, oral history, archaeology, and letters, Green lays bare the transformations that have shaped world politics and the global economy since the fifteenth century and paints a new and masterful portrait of West Africa, past and present.
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by
Publication Date: 2021
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present--edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire. "A vital addition to [the] curriculum on race in America . . . a gateway to the solo works of all the voices in Kendi and Blain's impressive choir."--The Washington Post "From journalist Hannah P. Jones on Jamestown's first slaves to historian Annette Gordon-Reed's portrait of Sally Hemings to the seductive cadences of poets Jericho Brown and Patricia Smith, Four Hundred Souls weaves a tapestry of unspeakable suffering and unexpected transcendence."--O: The Oprah Magazine The story begins in 1619--a year before the Mayflower--when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history. Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith--instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness. This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.
The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare by
Publication Date: 2016
From 1754 to 1755, the slave ship Hare completed a journey from Newport, Rhode Island, to Sierra Leone and back to the United States--a journey that transformed more than seventy Africans into commodities, condemning some to death and the rest to a life of bondage in North America. In this engaging narrative, Sean Kelley painstakingly reconstructs this tumultuous voyage, detailing everything from the identities of the captain and crew to their wild encounters with inclement weather, slave traders, and near-mutiny. But most importantly, Kelley tracks the cohort of slaves aboard the Hare from their purchase in Africa to their sale in South Carolina. In tracing their complete journey, Kelley provides rare insight into the communal lives of slaves and sheds new light on the African diaspora and its influence on the formation of African American culture. In this immersive exploration, Kelley connects the story of enslaved people in the United States to their origins in Africa as never before. Told uniquely from the perspective of one particular voyage, this book brings a slave ship's journey to life, giving us one of the clearest views of the eighteenth-century slave trade.