HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton community came together this morning to remember the arrival of first enslaved Africans 400 years ago.
The ceremony was led by the descendants of William Tucker, the first documented African child born in the Virginia Colony.
“It’s not just about us. It’s American history,” said Verrandall Tucker, a descendant and member of the William Tucker 1624 Society.
More than a hundred people attended the event held at the Tucker family cemetery in Aberdeen.
Tucker says he was at a lost for words seeing so many people turn out to honor not only their family’s lineage, but all those who went unrecognized for centuries.
“We know our ancestors are proud of us because we’re standing on their shoulders. For years, we worked to put this together. It was worth every bit of it,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who gave remarks, says it’s a day he’ll never really forget.
He spoke to the crowd about being able to represent so many who worked and died throughout American history at the Jamestown 1619 General Assembly commemoration.
Fairfax, who carried a copy of his own ancestor’s freedom papers at his inauguration, believes this weekend’s events, along with the General Assembly commemoration, can be a catalyst of change for our country with Virginia spearheading it.
“At the crossroads of history, we get to chose what the future looks like and the people are speaking. I think they’re rising up and saying we want something better. We want hope and more opportunity for all. That really is an inspiring message,” he said.
The Tuckers also wanted guests to leave with a message-an understanding of the “true” American story that had its roots with the first Africans arrival.
“They feel the story has to continue. The fight has to continue. We have to continue to love and embrace each other and the world.This has to go out to the world so they’ll see what took place today,” Tucker said.
For a full list of this weekend’s commemoration events, click here.