Hampton recognizes the landing of the first enslaved Africans with activities and events

Living Local

Photo Courtesy by the City of Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – To recognize the 400th anniversary of the first Africans brought to English North America, officials at Fort Monroe in Hampton are organizing exhibits, activities, and musical performances in honor of the event.

A four-day commemoration from Thursday, August 22 to Sunday, August 25 will be chock-full of activities for the community to participate in and learn about history.


Thursday, August 22

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Africa to America: The Odyssey of Slavery Town Hall – located at Norfolk State Brown Hall, 700 Park Avenue

1 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 400 Years of African American History Commission Public Hearing: Located at 490 Fenwick Rd in Hampton

Friday, August 23

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Tucker Family Cemetery Reflection and Commemoration (A FREE event): Located at 1 Sharon Court in Hampton. *Rain Location Hampton Roads Convention Center, 1610 Coliseum Drive, Hampton

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Live Broadcast of “Another View” from Fort Monroe Theater

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – African American Political Pioneers Luncheon and Panel Discussion at the Hampton Convention Center located at 1610 Coliseum Drive in Hampton.

You may purchase tickets at here.

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.– “Evolution of a Black Girl: From the Slave House to the White House Co-Sponsored by A.C.T. 4 Life Match Grant at the Fort Monroe Community Center – Free Youth Event: Located at 100 Stillwell Drive in Hampton. The event is sold out. For event details click here.

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – “1619-2019: 400 Years of Perseverance” Panel Discussion at Hampton University Memorial Chapel – (A FREE event)
Located at 100 East Queen Street in Hampton.

Saturday, August 24

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. -“Take Me to the Water: Evolving Beyond Slavery”
This is located at First Street and Pilot Avenue on Buckroe Beach.

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – 2019 African Landing Commemorative Ceremony
Early arrival is encouraged to this FREE event which is located at Commanding General’s Residence at 20 Ingalls Road at Fort Monroe, featuring remarks from CNN’s Van Jones and an original poem read by Nikki Giovanni

11:30 am-5:00 pm – 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing Cultural Activities – FREE
Near Fenwick Rd. and Ingalls Rd. at Fort Monroe,

12:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. – African Landing Day Program
Located at Commanding General’s Residence on 20 Ingalls Road at Fort Monroe.

12:00 p.m.

  • Drum call
  • Drummers from around the country will be invited to participate
  • Parade of flags

12:30 p.m. – Libation by Chiefs from Cameroon

12:50 p.m. – National Day of Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement

1:20 p.m.

  • Welcome by Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and Calvin Pearson, Founder of Project 1619
  • Introduction of dignitaries from America and Africa

1:50 p.m. – African Naming Ceremony

2:20 p.m. – KanKouran West African Dance group

3:00 pm -Procession to the fishing pier for flower petal throwing ceremony

12:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. – Black Heritage Tours sponsored by the Norfolk Public Schools (12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.) – FREE

 *Sign-up in advance at the Welcome Tents. 25 participants per tour.

Tour Stops

12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. – Fort Monroe Visitor And Education Center preview

6:30 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. – 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing Concert at the Hampton Coliseum – Featuring COMMON with Sounds of Blackness – FREE

1000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666
Everyone MUST have a ticket to attend. The concert is currently sold out.

Sunday, August 25 Healing Day

Healing Day will commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America in 1619. On this day, bells around the nation will ring for 4 minutes, one minute for every 100 years. The day will also feature a children’s area, vendor booth’s, and food trucks.

1:30 pm National Park Service Commemorating 400 Years: Places of Struggle, Community and Triumph 1619-2019
Fort Monroe Theater 42 Tidball Rd, Fort Monroe, VA 23651

2:30 pm National Bell Ringing Program
Inside a gazebo at Continental Park with commemorative bells for the first 300 participants.

Elegba Folklore African Drummers and Dancers

Blessing of the Land, Chief Walt Red Hawk Brown, Cheroenhaka Nottaway Tribe

Libation Ceremony, Chadra Pittman, Sankofa Project
Healing Calls, Professor Marian D. Clifton, Poet
Healing Launch, Bell Ringing Countdown, Terry E. Brown, Superintendent, Fort Monroe National Monument

3:00 pm National Ringing of Bells (4 Minutes, 1 Minute for each 100 years)

3:45 p.m. Healing Day Program
Commanding General’s Residence
Emceed by WAVY News 10’s very own Anita Blanton,

Program to include:

  • Military Tributes
    Presentation of the Colors and 21 Gun SaluteJoint Base Langley-Eustis 633 Air Wing
  • Musical Selections
    United States Colored Troops Ensemble
    Nicole Michelle Aponte, Award Winning Recording Artist
  • Healing Day Addresses
    Dr. Michael Battle, General Theological Seminary and Dir. Of the Tutu Center
    Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Academic, Author, Media Personality
  • Performing Arts
    Transcendence Aerial Dance
    Addison Messick – Virginia Gymnastics First Place All Around Champion
    Teens with a Purpose
  • Gospel Concert
    4 Him Gospel Quartet
    Damien Sneed – Recording Artist, 2014 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Recipient
    First Baptist Church Choir, Hampton, Virginia
Photo Courtesy provided by the City of Hampton and the Commemoration of the First African Landing

To read more about the historic event and gain some background and historical context into the steps of the first Africans brought English North America, read more from the stories below:

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