WILLIAMSBURG, Va., August 13, 2021 – Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, will host a special commemoration of the 1619 arrival of the first recorded Africans to Virginia on Saturday, August 21 with a 90-minute afternoon program of reflection, artistic expression and community conversation.
The program, “Acknowledge the Past, Embrace the Future,” will begin outdoors on the museum mall at 2 p.m. with a welcome by Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Executive Director Christy S. Coleman. The program opens 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.
Event activities move indoors to Jamestown Settlement’s education wing classrooms for a community panel 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, a Richmond-based artist; and Richard Josey, founder and principal consultant for Collective Journeys. Space is limited, and tickets are required to reserve a seat to this event.
Museum Gallery Exhibits, Films & Interactives Explore West Central African Culture
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 children age 5 and under. Admission tickets can be purchased online through the eStore or in person at the museum. A value-priced combination ticket is available with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency.
For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or visit jyfmuseums.org/africanarrival.