Virginia to mark pivotal moment when Africans arrived
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Ceremonies this weekend in Virginia will commemorate the arrival of enslaved Africans there 400 years ago.
The events marking their arrival in August 1619 will include a “Healing Day” on Sunday in Hampton on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. That’s where two ships traded men and women from what’s now Angola for food and supplies from English colonists. A bell will ring for four minutes.
Yet the weekend ceremonies in tidewater Virginia will unfold against the backdrop of rising white nationalism across the country, racist tweets by President Donald Trump and a lingering scandal surrounding the state’s governor and a blackface photo.
The 1619 arrival is considered a pivotal moment in American history. It presaged a legacy of race-based slavery that still haunts the United States.