In late August 1619, a vessel arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia (now Hampton), with, among other passengers, “20 and odd Negros.” These were the first documented Africans to arrive in British colonies that would, in just over a century and a half, become the United States.
This was also the beginning of an almost 250-year engagement with chattel slavery, a 100-year engagement with legalized discrimination, and another 50 or so years of so-called colorblind literal and furtive violence at the hands of the state.
That day in 1619, 400 years ago last August, was also the beginning of a legacy spawned by forced migrants and their descendants who took their many dozens of cultures, traditions, and religious practices and formed something new under the most inconceivably difficult and suppressive circumstances.
From October 21-26, the university will hold a series of events to honor the strength, perseverance, ingenuity, and national and global contributions of the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States over the last four hundred years. Like many institutions across the nation, the SCSU 1619 Commemoration Committee has planned events to highlight important issues and themes in African American life and history.
Visit the 1619 website to see the complete list of events and to RSVP for the Opening Ceremony with Keynote Speaker Marc Lamont Hill -- BET news host, social justice advocate, and professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University.