Honor the ancestors and 400 years of African American resilience!

Make sure there is a 400th Commemorative event in your community.

Create an event. Then, place your event on our National Calendar of Events. 

ASALH provides a clearinghouse for events to recognize the 400th Anniversary of the 1619 arrival of Africans in the Virginia Colony. 

Our Story/Our Narrative

The 400th Commemoration of the arrival of Africans in the first permanent English Colony in North America highlights the perseverance of Africans from 1619 to the present. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) views the 400th Commemoration as an event of historic importance for ALL people, but especially those of African descent. Each year ASALH establishes a Black History Theme. This commemoration speaks directly to ASALH’s selected annual Black History theme for 2019—“Black Migrations.”

The story of Africans in the English Colony of Virginia begins with the founding of the Colony in 1607, under the rule of King James I of England. In August of 1619, the first African men and women arrived by ship at Point Comfort, present-day Fort Monroe, in Hampton, Virginia. This fact is known because John Rolfe, Secretary and Recorder General of Virginia, recorded the arrival of “20 and odd Negroes” in 1619. Some of the Africans became part of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. America places historic importance on the Jamestown Settlement as the cornerstone of this nation.

Forced migration of Africans to the Virginia colony in 1619 reminds us that they came before the Mayflower (1620). By this commemoration, ASALH pays tribute to 400 years of the creative industry of a people who were kidnapped and brought unwillingly to these shores and who, with resolute African spirit, fought for human dignity and equality.

There have been several commissions created to commemorate this 400-year journey including the Federal legislation introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott titled “The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act,” H.R. 1242 – 115. (February 2018). ASALH has, in turn, established The 400th Commemoration Committee.

ASALH’s 400th Commemoration Committee seeks to educate America and the global community about the arrival of Africans in the Virginia Colony and tell the story of the resilience of the African American family, their contributions to America, and most of all African American perseverance over four centuries.

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