Commemoration of 400th Historical Anniversary to Be Held at Fort Monroe

By Carla Charter

FORT MONROE, VA-In 1619, the White Lion, a ship carrying the first enslaved Africans to the New World landed at Point Comfort, now Fort Monroe, Virginia. A Remembrance of the 400th anniversary of this arrival will be held on August 24 to 25th.  “Four hundred years is significant and that it happened at Fort Monroe is even more significant,” said Terry E. Brown, Superintendent of the Fort Monroe National Monument.

On Saturday August 24 events will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will include a Dedication of Fort Monroe Visitor Center, an Outdoor Festival, History Tours, Libation Ceremony, First-Person History Presentations interpreting the 1619 landing and legacy, Keynote Commemorative Speakers, Musical Performances, Vendors, Cultural Displays,  Hands-on Children’s Activities and a Reconciliation & Healing Ceremony

Sunday will be a day of healing and will include a gospel concert and a nationwide bell ringing for healing across the nation at 3 p.m.  “It will be a special ceremony to allow the nation to pause to realize the significance of this moment,” Brown said.

“I am trying to capture the nations attention about this. It is important to remember the contributions African Americans have made to the country, which are significant in development of the American culture. The nation’s Achilles heel is slavery and we need to own that a little bit,” Brown continued.

Along with the Remembrance Weekend, Fort Monroe will be holding events throughout the year to commemorate the landing. These include the following Campfire Talks.: June 7-An Introduction to Slavery; June 14-Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass; June 21-The American Civil War Era; June 28-Reconstruction; July 12-The Dred Scott Decision; July 19-Racial Diversity in Outdoor Recreation; July 26- African Americans in the Military; August 2-Nat Turner and John Brown: Heroes or Villains?; August 9-The Modern Civil Rights Movement: MLK and Malcom X; August 16-History of Hampton University; September 6- Dr. Mary T. Christian; September 13-Kid Friendly Surprise Program; September 20-Maggie L. Walker; September 27-Buffalo Soldiers.

A music series is also planned during the season including July 13- The Sounds of Africa;  July 17- Music at the Moment by Semilla Cultural. July 20-The Sounds of Jazz; July 27-The Sounds of the Blues; August 3 -The Sounds of Gospel; August 10-The Sounds of Classical Performers.  A family day will also be held at the fort on August 17.

More information on the remembrance weekend can be found at can be found at www.fortmonroehealingday.com