HAMPTON, VA. (WAVY) — The 1619 Commemoration of the First Landing of Enslaved Africans took place this weekend.
About 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia 403 years ago. Calvin Pearson, a Hampton native and founder of the Project 1619 worked for decades to tell the true story of those brought and sold here.
This weekend, the Fort Monroe Authority, National Park Service, Project 1619 and the City of Hampton will host a series of events.
“It’s our generational responsibility to tell this story like it occurred. So, that we can begin to understand the foundations of our history,” said Glenn Oder, Fort Monroe Authority Executive Director. “This is history that has always been present, its just history that hasn’t always been discussed.”
Commemoration events include:
Friday, August 26 at 11a.m.
The Fort Monroe Superintendent will speak at the Tucker Family Cemetery.
Friday, August 26 at 1p.m.
Descendant Engagement Roundtable
Dr. Elizabeth Chew Interim Chief Executive Officer of James Madison’s Montpelier and Jeannine Compton-Antoine of the St. Lucia National Trust will explore “Descendant Engagement and Remembrance in the Age of Climate Change – Connecting International Sites of Enslavement in the Critical Times” a collaboration supported by the Association of African American Museums, the National Park Foundation, and the International National Trusts Organization Re-Imagining Sites of Enslavement initiative.
Descendants, museum professionals, scholars and attendees are invited to ask questions and share what they are doing to connect communities to the spirit of place and global histories. Click here to register.
Saturday, August 27 at 10 a.m.
Recognition and Commitment ceremony
There will be a prayer led by the Indigenous tribes. LT. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears will speak during a memorial dedication. The ceremony will take place at the future site of the African Landing Memorial. Granite stones from the fortress walls have been set as temporary benches and a “Line to Angola” will be in the landscape.
Saturday, August 27 at 11a.m.
First Enslaved African Landing Ceremony
The main commemoration ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at Fort Monroe Continental Park and will feature keynote speaker Professor and Civil Rights Attorney Dr. Gloria J. Browne-Marshall. There will be a bell ringing ceremony at 12 p.m. along with African dance, drum performances and flower processional. The Evolution of Freedom concert featuring Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 28
Day of Healing
At 6 a.m. there will be a Naming and Cleansing Ceremony at Outlook Beach, at 8:30 a.m. a 3.1 Mile Walk/Run for Healing starting at Outlook Beach and at 10:30 a.m. a Public Drum Circle and Time of Reflection. At 5 p.m. there will be a Virtual Restorative Yoga and Meditation with Kleidi Jeen. Click here to register for ALD Embodied Yoga.
Sharon Vann-Williams came from Chesterfield to be part of the 1619 healing day. “This is embracing who we are and coming to healing. I held the hands of the ladies,” said Vann-Williams.
She walked into the water during her own journey to freedom.
“They spoke blessings over me, peace over me and the release over me because of what our ancestors have gone through it still impacts us to today. The emotional pain that so many people have.”