Local family honors the 400th commemoration of slaves’ arrival at its family cemetery

Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A local family is sharing their story in hopes of telling others about the ‘true story’ of the arrival of Africans in Hampton.

Relatives Verrandall Tucker, Vincent Tucker, and Walter Jones say their family traced their ancestry back to the first African American child, William Tucker, born and baptized in the English Colonies.

This weekend at Fort Monroe, a number of events will commemorate the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to English North America in 1619.

The fort, formerly known as Point Comfort, was the location where “20 and odd’ Africans were brought and traded for supplies with colonists living there.

The Tuckers are holding an event for the commemoration at their family cemetery in Hampton on Friday.

The cemetery is a special place for them, not just because many of their close descendants are buried there, but because it’s where they discovered a number of unmarked graves.

“As we realized how historical the cemetery was, we had a ground penetrating radar done to identify all the remains. Where you see some of the crosses, as you scan through the cemetery, you’ll where it represents where there are remains, earlier graves of Africans before the late 1800s,” said Jones.

Vincent Tucker says the family has owned the cemetery since the late 1800s and has recently kept up more with the grounds.

“It’s very important. It does show our history. It shows a lot of dates and shows over a hundred sunken graves. It shows a lot of history,” Vincent Tucker said.

Tucker’s brother, Verrandall, says the family is excited to have the opportunity to share their story and cemetery with the public and dignitaries to educate others.

“It’s very sentimental right now because of all the recognition we’re getting and for our ancestors; how we’re now standing on their shoulders and thinking about how proud they are of us right now. We are really being recognized after all these years and it’s just a wonderful feeling,” he said.

The event on Friday starts at 9:30 a.m.

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