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African American Heritage Day, Saturday June 7

May 16, 2008 



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Jamestown Settlement will host musical performances, poetry, storytelling, and specially themed museum tours and interpretive programs on African American Heritage Day, Saturday, June 7.  Jamestown Settlement is a museum of 17th-century Virginia operated by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

The event, presented in partnership with the Virginia African American Forum, will feature a prearranged ancestral “reveal” by African Ancestry, Inc., during each of two African genealogy workshops, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., conducted by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Hampton Roads.

African-themed craft activities for children and a marketplace of crafts, art, clothing and food will be offered throughout the day.

Soul Direction Community Youth Choir of Hampton Roads will Heritage Day music.jpgperform gospel music at 10 a.m., followed by Elegba Folklore Society African dance ensemble at 11 a.m., and RaJazz performing jazz and rhythm and blues at 12:15 p.m.  Legacy of Weyanoke will perform spirituals and folk songs at 1:10 p.m., and RaJazz will reappear at 2:15 p.m.  College of William and Mary associate professor and published author Hermine Pinson, accompanied by Harris Simon, will present poetry and song at 3:45 p.m.

Nationally known storytellers Onawumi Jean Moss and Dylan Pritchett will each present three storytelling sessions, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

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The history of Africans in 17th-century Virginia will be a focus of guided tours of Jamestown Settlement’s exhibition galleries, at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., and tours of the museum’s outdoor living-history areas – re-created Powhatan Indian village and English colonial fort, replicas of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607, and riverfront discovery area – beginning every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The galleries chronicle the nation’s 17th-century beginnings in Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures.  Exhibits include a diorama portraying a dwelling in Angola, homeland of the first known Africans in Virginia; a dramatic multimedia presentation describing African encounters with Europeans, the impact on African culture, and the development of the transatlantic slave trade; and a late-17th-century slave quarter re-created from an archaeological site.  Artifacts from the Ambundu culture of Angola, decorative objects of ivory and metal made by west central African craftspeople, and archaeologically found objects made or used by enslaved people in Virginia can be seen in the gallery exhibits.

Demonstrations throughout the day at Jamestown Settlement’s riverfront discovery area will explore Powhatan, African and English trade and technology and compare methods of boatbuilding, agriculture and fishing.  A visitor-participatory program at 10:45 a.m. will illuminate the circumstances of the 1619 arrival in Virginia of 20-some Africans from the kingdom of Ndongo in Angola.  Another program at 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. will examine the relationship between colonial attempts to make a profit and Virginia’s labor force.

Jamestown Settlement, located on Route 31 South at the Colonial Parkway, next to Historic Jamestowne, site of the 1607 English settlement, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is $13.50 for adults, $6.25 for ages 6 through 12.  A combination ticket and annual pass are available with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution also operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838 or visithttps://jyfmuseums.org/pdf/events/African_Imprint_08.pdf.