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African Arrival

Special Commemorative Event
August 21 at Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, will commemorate the 1619 arrival of the first recorded Africans to Virginia during a special 90-minute afternoon program of reflection, artistic expression and community conversation.

With the weather forecast calling for a chance of rain, all activities will be held in Jamestown Settlement’s education wing classrooms. Space is limited and tickets are required to reserve a seat for this event.


Leslie Scott-Jones, Moderator

Leslie Scott-Jones, Panel Discussion Moderator.

Opening Program & Community Panel Discussion

“Acknowledge the Past, Embrace the Future,” will begin at 2 p.m. with a welcome by Executive Director Christy S. Coleman. The program will begin with the story of the arrival of the first recorded Africans to Virginia in 1619 and will feature a performance by Claves Unidos: Uniting the African Diaspora through Dance.

The program continues with a panel and community discussion on the African diaspora in 21st-century arts and culture, moderated .by Leslie Scott-Jones of Charlottesville’s Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Panelists include Kevin LaMarr Jones, artistic director and founder of Claves Unidos; Austin Miles, Richmond, Va., artist; and Richard Josey, founder and principal consultant for Collective Journeys.


The arrival of the first recorded Africans in 1619 is chronicled in Jamestown Settlement’s docudrama, “1607: A Nation Takes Root,” shown throughout the day.

Museum Gallery Exhibits & Films

At Jamestown Settlement, expansive gallery exhibits, dramatic films and engaging interactives share the story of Virginia Indian, English and West Central African cultures who converged in the 17th century.

The documentary film, “1607: A Nation Takes Root,” shown every 30 minutes in the museum theater, traces the evolution of the Virginia Company that sponsored the Jamestown colony, examines the relationship between the English colonists and Powhatan Indians, and chronicles the arrival of the first recorded Africans in 1619 – including the story of Angelo, the first African woman named in Jamestown’s historical record.

Using period artifacts and innovative technology, exhibits share historical accounts of the first documented Africans to Virginia in 1619 from their homeland in Ndongo (Angola) to life in the Virginia colony and evolution of a new African-American culture. The “From Africa to Virginia” multimedia presentation chronicles African encounters with Europeans, impact on African culture, and the development of the transatlantic slave trade.


About Jamestown Settlement

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. In addition to gallery exhibits and films, outdoor living-history areas, open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., feature historical interpretation in outdoor re-creations of a Paspahegh town, 1607 English ships and colonial fort. Museum operations have been adapted for everyone’s health and safety with protective protocols.

All daytime performances, activities and speaker presentations during this special event are included with museum admission: $18.00 for adults, $9.00 for ages 6-12, and free for children ages 5 and under. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. Admission tickets can be purchased online on the eStore or in person. For more information, call (757) 253-4838.