Project 1619 Inc.
African Landing Day August 20, 2015
What a historic weekend!!! For 396 years the true history of those first Africans brought to the shores of English North America was shrouded in a cover-up to hide the fact that they were captured by pirates from a Spanish ship on the high seas. The ship Treasurer was based at Jamestown, Virginia and was partly owned by Governor George Argall and Lord Rich, one of the people who financed the Virginia expedition. There was a treaty between England and Spain to not attack each other’s ships. But Governor Argall violated that treaty by sending the Treasurer out to the West Indies and Mexico to attack and pirate cargo from the Spanish ships. The English ship White Lion travelled to Flushing, Holland in the Netherlands where there was no treaty with Spain. They received a marquee or mark, a license to attack Spanish ships. In July of 1619 the Treasurer and the White Lion joined in consort to attack Spanish ships they thought were carrying gold and silver. In August they came upon the Spanish Ship Sao Joao Bautista 500 miles from Mexico. The Bautista was headed to Vera Cruz where the Africans were to be sold to work in the silver mines. The two ships attacked the Bautista because it was heavily armed with canons and they took it for a war ship cargo carrying precious cargo. They attacked the Bautista and after getting them to surrender discovered that their precious cargo was enslaved Africans headed to Mexico. The two ships took approximately 60 Africans and swiftly headed to the nearest non-Spanish port. That port happened to be Point Comfort on the east coast of Virginia. The White Lion arrived first and after speaking to the post commander Captain William Tucker, they discovered that it was an English ship with English Sailors who went to Holland to get a license to pirate ships. Captain Tucker knew that piracy was illegal so he falsified the official records and wrote that a Dutch ship arrived during the later part of August 1619 carrying Africans since it was legal for the Dutch to pirate Spanish ships. The next cover-up occurred when Jamestown changed the official text written by John Rolfe who the Secretary of the Virginia Colony. He wrote in his journal the Africans arrived at Point Comfort. Jamestown changed the text from Point Comfort to say they arrived at Jamestown. And from that point forward historians and authors wrote they landed at Jamestown.
In Virginia there were markers installed by the Department of Historic Resources at Jamestown and Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia designating both as the official landing site. Since there can only be landing site, Project 1619 requested that the Department of Historic Resources once and forever determine where the first Africans landed. After a thorough research by prominent historians it was concluded that Point Comfort was the rightful owner of this significant piece of America’s history. So the decision was made to remove the marker at Jamestown and edit it to say the first Africans arrived at Point Comfort and some were later transported to Jamestown and other plantations.
So in August 20, 2015 the Department of Historic Resources rededicated the marker at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe) as the official landing site.
Lt. Governor Ralph Northern and Secretary Molly Ward of the Department of Natural Resources presided over the ceremony. In attendance were Your Majesty Sinkam Konchipe Sylvestre, King of Bana, Cameroon; Kakmani Jean Pierre, Mayor of Bana; Ambassador Ibrahim S. Conteh, Deputy Chief of Mission, Sierra Leone Embassy, and Maria de Fatima Velasco, First Secretary of Culture and Mission, Angola Embassy.
The day got started at Noon with the National Juneteenth National Day of Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation from the Legacy of Enslavement. The marker was rededicated at 5:00 PM. At 6:00 pm the annual African Landing Day ceremony took place with the African drummers and dancers. The highlight of the program was the King and other embassy representatives addressing the spectators that was close to four hundred people.
King Sylestre in white speaks to spectators
King Sylvestre meets with America's First African Family, the Tuckers, descendants of William Tucker, the first African child born in English North America.
Calvin Pearson, Project 1619 Founder with Embassy Ambassador
Throwing flower petals into the ocean to honor those lives lost in the Middle Passage.
National Park Service to receive portions of Fort Monroe
The state plans to transfer more than 100 acres of Fort Monroe to the National Park Service, a decision that comes nearly four years after President Barack Obama designated portions of the property as a national monument.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe is expected to finalize the transfer in a ceremony Tuesday morning at the stone fort's main gate.
The agreement will transfer 112 acres of the North Beach area as well as the Parade Grounds, Old Quarters 1, Lee's Quarters and Engineer's Quarters. The properties are a portion of the entire park service monument.
The National Park Service also announced Thursday it has cleared a key step that dictates how the monument will be run. The news comes as the fort also commemorates the first landing of Africans in English-occupied North America.
The role of slavery — from its origins to its end — will be key themes of the national monument, according to the foundation document completed in July by the National Park Service.
The national monument's creation "is just like building a house," Park Superintendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding said. "The foundation needs to be strong to build a quality home on it."
The 80-page report will serve as a touchstone for programs, exhibits and events that take place within the national monument areas.
Still, the foundational document lists more than a dozen reports, plans and studies that need to be completed and executed in the background while park rangers perform day-to-day duties.
Topics such as sea-level rise, transportation and resource management are high priorities that need resolving, according to the document.
african Landing Day new historical marker
Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam speaks at the unveiling of a historical marker commemorating the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia in 1619. (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)
african Landing Day new historical marker
United States Representative Bobby Scott, Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, along with local politicians watch as Calvin Pearson removes the cover from a new historical marker on Fort Monroe Thursday. Pearson heads the Project 1619 and the marker commemorates the arrival of the first Africans in 1619. (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)
african Landing Day new historical marker
United States Representative Bobby Scott poses for photos with the Tucker family in front of a new historical marker commemorating the arrival in 1619 of the first Africans in the New World. The Tucker's are descended from the first child born to those Africans, William Tucker. (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)
The National Park Service monument includes varying levels of ownership of the moat, stone casemate, parade grounds inside the moat and a 235-acre swath of North Beach area beginning near Battery DeRussy and stretching north.
The Army has said an area known as Dog Beach may not transfer to the park service in the foreseeable future because contamination is being researched and removed.
On Thursday, officials from Hampton, the state and the National Park Service rededicated a Virginia Department of Historic Resources marker to note the 1619 landing of a Dutch ship carrying "20 and odd" Africans who were traded for provisions and supplies.
The National Park Service, state agencies and local historians now believe the Africans landed first in Hampton and not Jamestown.
Thursday afternoon, local and state officials were joined by representatives from Angola, Cameroon, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Benin during the ceremony near the fort's Engineer Wharf.
"This is not just significant here, but it's significant across the world," Project 1619 organizer Calvin Pearson said. "Today is a day of prayer and reconciliation and healing."
Pearson and 1619 lobbied the state to change markers at Fort Monroe and Jamestown to show Old Point Comfort as the location where nearly two dozen Africans first set foot on English-occupied North America.
"It's been a 20-year fight to get make sure history was told properly," he said.
Brauchle can be reached by phone at 757-846-4361.
Copyright © 2015, Daily Press
Do you want to know more about Project 1619? For the past twenty years we have led a campaign to promote that the first Africans brought to English North America in 1619 arrived in present day Hampton, VA and not Jamestown. Each year we produce African Landing Day that includes a commemoration ceremony with a Libation, African dancers and drummers. We sponsor an African Diaspora Film Festival and a Juneteenth Jazz Festival. These events will take place in Hampton from August 20-22nd. Want to know more? Want to be a part of this organization as we plan events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of their landing in 2019? Project 1619 will have a public meeting on June 18th at 7:00 PM at the Hampton Public Library on Victoria Boulevard. We are looking for energetic people to serve on the Board of Directors and various committees. See our web page at www.project1619.org or call 757-380-1319.
The City of Hampton, Virginia was founded on July 9, 1610 and is the oldest continuous English speaking settlement in America. In 1619 the first documented Africans to arrive on English occupied territory in what would become North America landed at Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia, today’s Fort Monroe.
In 2019 the City of Hampton and our Nation will be commemorating the 400th anniversary of their arrival. The Project 1619 Committee, is a national nonprofit organization with a corporate office in Hampton, where the monument campaign will be spearheaded by descendents of the first Africans and the Contraband Slaves.
This grassroots movement is to raise funds for the commission and installation of a National Monument in Hampton. Currently Project 1619 is soliciting proposals and designs for the National Monument from sculptors, artist, and other interested parties.
The monument should be symbolic of the arrival of the first Africans, or their “Triumph Over Slavery”. The monument could be from any medium - bronze, stone, steel, etc. The commission shall be open to national competition as per the attached guidelines. For more information on the project, to submit monument proposal design ideas, or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mr. Pearson below.
CLICK ON AFRICAN LANDING DAY FOR THIS YEARS EVENT
Watch interview given by Calvin Pearson and Chadra Pittman Walke on the first Africans and Hampton Virginia's historic African American history and the impact it had on America. Click Below.
For more information send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch WHRO YOUTUBE on the the First Africans
First African Landing Markers to be Removed at Jamestown
Hampton, VA. For the past 395 years Jamestown, Virginia has proclaimed that the first Africans brought to Virginia in 1619 landed at Jamestown. These were the first enslaved Africans to set foot on English occupied territory that would become the United States of America. Jamestown erected signs proclaiming it as the landing site. But they did not land at Jamestown. Due to the persistent diligence of Project 1619 Inc (project1619.org) they proved that the first Africans came ashore at Point Comfort, Virginia, thirty miles downstream from Jamestown. Today Point Comfort is Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. Due to the work of Project 1619 Inc. in 2011 President Barack Obama declared Fort Monroe a National Monument in part because that is where the first Africans came ashore.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has determined that the claim by Jamestown is inaccurate and has ordered all signs in Jamestown declaring that as the first landing site be removed and edited to reflect the first Africans came ashore at Point Comfort. The first Africans brought to Virginia in 1619 were captured from the village of Ndongo in Angola Africa. After the first Africans arrived at Point Comfort they were dispersed to plantations along the James River. Two of the first Africans to arrive were Antoney and Isabel, who later gave birth to the first documented child of African descent born in English North America. Project 1619 Inc, is accepting donations to construct a monument at Fort Monroe to honor the arrival of the first Africans in1619.
Pictures courtesy of Barbara Gibson
Picture by Daily Press
Landing of First Africans in Virginia Commemorated
Community members gathered for a prayer service honoring African Landing Commemoration Day at Fort Monroe in August 2012. Pictured above, from left to right, are Chadra Pittman Walke, Baba Awo Adeyemi and Larry Gibson playing instruments in from of the historic first landing marker where the first documented Africans arrived in Virginia at Point Comfort in August 1619.
Calvin Pearson speaks at National Press Club in Washington D. C. on Juneteenth Day and African Landing Day.
Calvin Pearson and VA Congressman Bobby Scott attend unveiling of Frederick Douglas statue at Capital Building on June 19, 2013, Juneteenth Day.
Support our campaign to raise money for a National Monument at Fort Monroe, VA in honor of the first Africans.
History of the First Africans
Between 1618 an 1620, thousands of Africans were enslaved during the war between King Alvaro III of Congo and his uncles and sold into slavery. There was also the war between the Portuguese Leader Endes de Vascondes and a band of a marauding mercenary soldiers against the Kingdom of Ndongo. In 1619 Africans were loaded aboard the Spanish ship Sao Joao Bautista and headed toward Vera Cruz, Mexico when it encountered the “White Lion” who many believe was an English ship with a Dutch flag and the “Treasurer” an English ship. The White Lion and the Treasurer captured cargo from the Sao Joao Bautista including nearly 60 Africans. The White Lion arrived at Point Comfort along the Virginia coast, present day Hampton during the latter part of August 1619 carrying 20 and odd Negros, where they all came ashore. Two of the original Africans who came ashore, Antonio and Isabella, became servants on the plantation of Capt. William Tucker who was the commander at Point Comfort. Some of the slaves were purchased by Governor George Yeardley and his Cape Merchant Abraham Piersey. They were then transported to plantations along the James River in what would become Charles City. The Treasurer arrived 3-4 days after the White Lion but was not allowed to trade their Africans so they left Point Comfort for Bermuda where they traded their Africans for corn. There is no documentation that either ship ever traveled to Jamestown to unload Africans. These Africans became the first Africans to arrive in America on British occupied territory.
In 1623 Antonio and Isabella gave birth to William Tucker, the first African child born in America. The Tucker Family and descendants from the first African child born in America still resides in Hampton. William Tucker is buried in Hampton.
This year our great Nation of the United States of America celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. President Abraham Lincoln has been given the credit of freeing the slaves. But the Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slaves in counties in Southern states controlled by the Confederates. It did not free slaves in Union held territories in Virginia, Maryland and other states. Many would remain enslaved until the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865. There were many slaves and slave owners in Union territories who did not fully understand the true meaning of the proclamation so they thought their slaves had been granted freedom. And many slaves rejoiced that they were free, even though they were not.
The Emancipation Proclamation was the end to a means. Lincoln saw it as a way to end the war by allowing free slaves to join the Union army. Free slaves joined the war because they thought if the union won their freedom could not be taken from them.
But the quest for freedom started many years earlier. It was abolitionist like Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and John Brown who began the road to emancipation. In May of 1861 three slaves escaped from the Confederate encampments in Norfolk, Virginia and in the dark of night rowed across the Chesapeake Bay to Fort Monroe, located in present day Hampton, Virginia. A day earlier General Benjamin Butler arrived at Fort Monroe to be commander of the Union Army. Those three slaves, Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory decided they would emancipate themselves from 242 years of slavery that would be the greatest inhumane crime America had committed on one ethnic group. General Butler declared the three slaves “Contraband of War” and within months more than 10,000 slaves had escaped from Maryland and Virginia to what was now being called Freedoms Fortress. Many joined the Union Army.
Emancipation was inevitable due to the abolitionist who had worked to change the culture in America that slavery in the South was an injustice. Frederick Douglas was a confidant to President Lincoln and many believed he was instrumental in helping the president, who owned slaves himself, that it was time to free the slaves. In 1862 Congress freed the slaves living in the District of Columbia. President Lincoln saw that if Congress was abolishing slavery it was just a matter of time before freedom would spread thought the South.
So as we celebrate emancipation, let’s not forget that it was not the stroke of a pen that set our ancestors free, it was the struggle and perseverance of our brothers and sisters who fought the fight for freedom and equality that made emancipation possible.
Liberty is meaningless
where the right to utter
one's thoughts and opinions
has ceased to exist.
SOUL FOOD MUSEUM
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation