HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — As the state and country hold a special commemoration in Hampton this weekend, one local family will have a front row seat to the events.
The Tucker family has spent years researching and digging into their lineage after hearing from older family members they may be related to the first documented African child born in the Virginia colony.
“We heard it, but didn’t really pay attention to it until later on in the years, the light bulb went off,” said Verrandall Tucker.
Tucker and his relatives believe they are descendants of William Tucker, who was born in 1624.
Just five years earlier, his parents Antony and Isabella were part of a group of enslaved Africans taken from their homes and brought to the Virginia colony in 1619.
It’s that arrival that is being commemorated this weekend.
The Tuckers say its bittersweet for them to honor their ancestors and see how far African Americans have come since then.
But, there’s still a lot to do.
“You look at where we are today, African Americans are still struggling in many areas: employment, housing, voting rights. We’ve come a long way but we still have a way to go,” said Vincent Tucker.
The Tuckers say they’re sharing their story in hopes others know and look up the true history about what happened.
“People will experience and put their eyes on a real family and make a connection there. They’ll hear some of their stories that were passed on from generation to generation and realize we built America, blood, sweat, and tears, to continue to move forward, move on. Not forgetting about it, but we have to pass it on for the next generation,” Tucker said.
The Tuckers say learning the history and uniting through it can help our country move forward.
“Love is a major piece. God is of love. We are a blessed nation and we have to understand that. It’s not about any one individual. It’s American history. It has to be told abroad, in the school systems, so people can understand not just a piece of it, but the whole story from the beginning,” he said.
The Tuckers will hold a ceremony at their family cemetery on August 23 at 9:30 a.m. in honor of the commemoration.
For the full list of events, click here.
To learn more about the Tucker family, visit https://williamtucker1624society.org/our-story.