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.

Articles of Interest

Federal Legislation Establishing the 400 Years of African-American History Commission

Federal Legislation Established for the 400th was introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia.

The National Park Service 400 Commemoration: First African Landing at Old Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619

This commemorative program and event booklet was created by Fort Monroe National Monument to honor the 400th Anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in English North America.

Obama Slave-Ancestry Report Misses Mark

Monday’s New York Times article on President Obama’s roots in Southern slavery through his mother has reopened the contention that the first Africans brought to Virginia were indentured servants and not slaves.

WATCH ON C-SPAN3: 400th Anniversary of Forced African Migration

400th Anniversary of Forced African Migration In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the beginning of forced migration of Africans to North America, the Association for the Study of African […]

The Slave Trade and Slavery

The preservation and valorization of heritage linked to the slave trade and slavery – which are finally recognized as crimes against humanity by the international Community – has become an important issue in countries and regions that were affected by this tragedy.

Artists and the Memory of Slavery

Generations of artists have, ever since the abolition of slavery, seized, revisited, rehabilitated, and transmitted these legacies to draw new horizons for intercultural relations.