African Arrival Day

The 2019 Commemoration is a series of programs, events, and exhibits taking place throughout the 2019 calendar year that will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first African arrival at Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia. The Hampton 2019 Commemorative Commission’s role is to implement a plan to commemorate the 1619 landing of Africans in English North America, seeking international recognition of enslaved Africans’ and their point of entry at Point Comfort in English-occupied North America, and realizing this vision through discourse, planning and promotion of activities that broadly engage local, national and international audiences.

The History

As witnessed and recorded by John Rolfe, the first tobacco planter in the Virginia colony, on August 20, 1619, the White Lion entered the Chesapeake Bay, docked at Point Comfort (present day Hampton) with Africans from the country Angola, of the Bantu culture. They spoke the languages of the Kimbundu and Kikongo. Many were literate and hailed from highly organized societies. Two of those Africans, named Antoney and Isabell, became servants of Captain William Tucker, Commander of the fort at Point Comfort. Around 1623 or 1624, the union of Isabell and Antoney birthed the first African child in English North America, named William Tucker. The other arriving Africans were interspersed within the Virginia colony, from Elizabeth City County to Jamestown.

Schedule of Events

2019 African Arrival Commemoration at Fort Monroe August 23-25, 2019

Outdoor Festival • History Tours • Libation Ceremony

Concert Event • Dedication of Fort Monroe Visitor Center

First-Person History Presentations interpret the 1619 arrival and legacy

Keynote Commemorative Speakers

Musical Performances • Vendors • Cultural Displays • Hands-on Children’s Activities

Reconciliation & Healing Ceremony

Sunday Remembrance & Reflection Event

More information to be announced