Resources that explore the 1619 arrival of Africans in English North America are available through the following organizations:
Hampton History Museum
120 Old Hampton Lane
Hampton, VA 23669
Ms. Luci Cochran, Director
At the Hampton History Museum, their mission is to build a better future by exploring and preserving our past.
The vision of the Museum is to be a catalyst for change and a powerful tool in building community as “history is who we are and why we are the way we are…” With a full roster of programs, the goal is to illustrate the past’s influence on the world today.
20 Bernard Road
Fort Monroe, VA 23651
Ms. Darcy Sink, Education and Volunteer Coordinator
757-690-8073, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Located on the site known as Old Point Comfort, site of the first African arrival in English North America in 1619, and completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was originally designed to protect the Hampton Roads waterway from an enemy attack and is the largest stone fort in America. Within the fort is the Casemate Museum, which chronicles the military history of Fort Monroe from the construction of Fort Algernourne, the first defensive fortification at the site in 1609, through the last major command to be headquartered at Fort Monroe, the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. The museum features the room where Jefferson Davis was held briefly as prisoner following the American Civil War, highlights Major General Benjamin Butler’s Contraband of War decision that granted refuge to three enslaved men, and tells the history of the US Army Coast Artillery Corps.
Hampton University Museum
Hampton University campus, Huntington Building
Founded in 1868, the Museum is the oldest African American museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in the state of Virginia. The collections feature over 9,000 objects including African American fine arts, traditional African, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Asian art; and objects relating to the history of the University. Within its fine arts collection is the largest existing collection of works in any museum by the artists John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Richmond Barthe and Samella Lewis.
Facts of this historical epoch:
- It is historically and contemporaneously significant that the presence of African people have endured in Hampton as a result of the 1619 arrival of Angolan people at Old Point Comfort (Hampton) where the Fort Monroe National Monument is located.
- On or about August 20, 1619, the White Lion enters the Chesapeake Bay, docked at Old Point Comfort with Africans from Angola. John Rolfe, an early English settler, and widower of Pocahontas witnessed this event of about 20 Africans as documented in a letter. Some Angolans stayed in Hampton, and others were taken to plantations up the James River.
- Antonio and Isabella became servants of Captain William Tucker, Commander at (Kecoughtan) Old Point Comfort, and in 1624/5, birthed the first African child in English North America, named William Tucker.
- William Tucker may have been christened in the Kecoughtan Church near present-day Tyler Street on the campus of Hampton University in January 1624.
- Antonio and Isabella worked in the tobacco fields and cypress groves on the Tucker Plantation in Hampton.
- The Old Point Comfort site would become sacred again, as three men of African descent named Frank Baker, James Townsend and Shepard Mallory, enslaved by Charles King Mallory of Hampton, escaped from working for Confederates in Norfolk, rowed across the Chesapeake Bay on May 23, 1861, to secure their freedom at Fort Monroe. This action was catalyst for the emancipation movement for human freedom.