African Arrival Day

Launching the 2019 Commemoration, African Arrival Day takes place August 19-21 to commemorate the 1619 arrival of the first Africans in English North America at Point Comfort (site of Fort Monroe). The 2016 event will launch awareness of the 2019 400th anniversary and the impact the occurrences that year had on the English North American colonies, our nation and the world.

This public event will include tours of the Godspeed, live musical entertainment, performing arts, historical tours, guest speakers, art exhibits, family activities, and a film festival.

Schedule of Events


11:00 am – William Tucker Cemetery Dedication, located at 1 Sharon Court in Hampton’s Aberdeen Gardens neighborhood. Please see Event Calendar for further details

9:00 am – 2:00 pm – Godspeed Public Tours – located at Hampton Public Pier at the Hampton Maritime Center on the downtown waterfront, sponsored by Virginia 2019 Commemoration

12:00 pm – WHRO taping “Another View” live at Fort Monroe hosted by Barbara Hamm Lee


8:00 am – Fort Monroe Welcome Tent Opens – Continental Park, Fort Monroe

8:30 am – 11:00 am – Commemorative Ceremony at Continental Park presented by Project 1619, sponsored by the Virginia 2019 Commemoration – The commemorative portion of the event will feature a keynote speaker, performances, prayer, and a libation ceremony in recognition of the sacrifices and contributions of Africans to the early formation of this nation

  •  African Naming Ceremony – Experience the traditional African naming ceremony performed by an African spiritual leader based on the individual’s spirit and social conscientiousness of their
    ancestry. A name is ones direct link to ones history, ones culture, and thus to ones psychological bearings and awareness.
  •   Prayer Service – 6th Annual “Pilgrimage Prayer”, World Day of Reconciliation & Healing from the legacy of Enslavement, in partnership with the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
    featuring the Rev. Ron Myers, Founder; and performances by the First Baptist Church, East End, Newport News, Gospel and Youth Choir. All clergy are welcome to join in the prayer service.
  •   Annual African Landing Day Commemoration with African Dancers, Drummers and Libation to honor the arrival and legacy of the first Africans brought to English North America in August 1619


10:30 am – Casemate Museum Open featuring New Contraband exhibit

Storyteller Dr. Margaret Bristow in the courtyard reading “Under the Freedom Tree” and “Henry’s Freedom Box”-(11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00pm)


12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Welcome Ceremony- Continental Park

Hosted by Mistress of Ceremonies Barbara Hamm Lee

  •   National Anthem performed by EMA Live
  •   Greeting by Mayor Tuck
  •   Welcome by 2019 Commemoration Co-Chairs Senator Norment and Delegate Cox
  •   Keynote address by American Journalist Roland Martin
  •   Official Greeting by Congressman Scott – Reading of letter from President Barack Obama
  •   Governor McAuliffe officially launches the 2019 Commemoration
  •   Godspeed Sail-By with Cannon Blast
  •   TRADOC Band Performance


1:00 pm – 5:00 pm –  Continental Park and other areas around Fort Monroe – Live Musical Entertainment and Family Activities in Continental Park feature African Dancers and Drummers, character reenactments, and storytelling

Live Musical Performances – Continental Park Bandstand

11:30 am – 1:00 pm  Musical Mosaic and EMA Music and Arts Presents “EMA Live”
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm  TRADOC Band
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm  Jae Sinnett Jazz Trio
2:45 pm – 4:00 pm  Strictly Business (Jazz, R&B, Top 20, Reggae, Afro Cuban)
4:30 pm – 5:00 pm  Rhythm Project


Living History Tours – Various Fort Monroe Locations

Leaving at 1:30pm and 3:00 pm from Continental Park

  • 1st Stop-1619 Arrival Story-Antonio and Isabella (First Africans Marker)
  • 2nd Stop-1776 Caesar Tarrant (Lighthouse)
  • 3rd Stop-1861 Contraband Story (Quarters One – Left Oak Tree behind House)
  • 4th Stop-19th and 20th Century Harriet Tubman (Quarters 1-Right Oak Tree behind house


Dance Performance – Youth Area Continental Park

  •   Dylan Pritchett Storyteller (11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm)
  •   African Dance group lessons (11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm)
  •   Middleton Academy Dance – Local Youth Dance Group (11:45 am, 12:45 pm, 3:30 pm)
  •   African Drumming Demonstration (1:00 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm)Interactive DemonstrationsJewelry/Musical Instrument Making
    • Design your own cowry shell bracelet-*VolunteerForming Clay by Hand DemonstrationWatch demonstrations of hand building of clay to create pottery and other items.
    • African-American Historical Figures Opportunity to learn more about these important historical figures through 1st person interpreters.
      • Mary Peake
      • Elizabeth Key Grinstead
      • Frederick Douglas
      • James Armistead Lafayette


    • Play Zone
      • Sidewalk Chalk Art
      • Children’s Large Board games
      • Bubbles
      • Ring Toss Game


    • Guided Walking Tours of Fort Monroe Schedule (20mins)
      • Leaving at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm from Continental Park
      • Walking down Ingalls, across the postern gate, ending at the Casemate Museum
      • With a volunteer from the Casemate Museum


    Fort Monroe Theater Schedule

    11:00 am and 2:45 pm

    Film Showing at Fort Monroe Theater

    “Motherland” (124 minutes)

    1:30 pm-2:35 pm Community Talent Showcase

    1:30pm-2:00pm – Middleton Academy Dance presents African Cinderella Theatrical Piece

    2:15pm-2:30pm – Middleton Academy Dance Performance (Lamban)

    2:30pm-2:35pm-Beauty for Ashes Dance Performance


    • 7:00 pm –  Project 1619 Juneteenth Jazz Concert at The American Theatre – presented by Project 1619, sponsored by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau. $20 Admission fee. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster.

    SUNDAY – 8/21

    • 5:00 pm – Project 1619 African Diaspora Film Program at The American Theatre, presented by Project 1619 and sponsored by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau. Featuring the film “Bound – African vs African Americans.”  The film program is intended to illustrate the cultural and historical aspects of the African Diaspora. When asked about his overarching hopes for the film, Director Peres Owino’s shared, “Bound speaks about how we connect to each other as a people, our experiences, each other, humanity, the great human story,” she says. “It becomes how you understand the African and African-American story.” $10 Adult, $20 youth admission fee. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster.