We will be marking the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being brought to Point Comfort Virginia in 1619. Jeff Davies will be ringing the Baptist Church Bell for 4 minutes, 1 minute for each one hundred years. Pat Mues and Sarah Weed along with Pastor Esther Irish, will discuss the slave trade, enslavement and its legacy.
The National Park Service at Fort Monroe (once Point Comfort) press release states:
The landing of the first enslaved Africans was one of the most significant events in our country’s history, but is still widely unknown. Originally, the “20 and odd” enslaved Africans onboard the White Lion were never to be brought to the English colonies but rather stay in the Caribbean and South America in the Spanish colonies where slavery was already established. At the time, slavery did not exist in the English Colonies.
The White Lion was in desperate need of rations before making the long journey back to Europe. They landed at Point Comfort seeking to trade the “20 and odd” Africans for provisions. The enslaved persons were skilled farmers, herders, blacksmiths and artisans. Along with their skills, they brought their own culture, language and beliefs that shaped innovations in food production, crop cultivation, music and dance. Despite all the skills and innovations they brought to this new land they would undergo generations of hardship and turmoil. Those first “20 and odd” Africans who landed at Point Comfort marked the beginning of 246 years of slavery in the United States.
Join us at 2:30 to learn more about 1619 and the role of Rhode Island and Warren in the slave trade, who the African Americans enslaved in Warren were, and the part those men, women and children played in the founding of our country.