For African Americans, this New Year marks 400 years of perseverance. Records reveal, in 1619, at least twenty Africans arrived in the fledgling English colony of Virginia. This English colony had been founded only a few years earlier, in 1607. Today, a website will serve as a clearinghouse for local, national and even international events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the Virginia Colony. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) launched this webpage on the date December 19th in honor of the birthday of its founder, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, the Father of Black History and a pioneer of multiculturalism. 

ASALH establishes the annual theme each year for Black History Month celebrations around the world. The 2019 theme is “Black Migrations.”  The 400th Commemoration theme, 400 Years of Perseverance,” is a central part of the larger theme. ASALH’s 400th Commemoration Committee was established under the leadership of ASALH Executive Council member Professor Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, in order to honor the ancestors who came to America through forced migration.

“Through their resilience and perseverance they made it possible for all of us to be here today” says Browne-Marshall, author of Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Present. “The public is invited to share all of their 400-related commemorative activities with the world by placing them on ASALH’s commemorative calendar.”

Visit the webpage at:  https://asalh.org/400-years . ASALH will post and update information on its website to encourage the study of this 400-year journey from 1619 to 2019. ASALH’s National Calendar of Events already contains 400th commemorative activities taking place across the country. Instructions for the Family Mentoring activity are on the website under ‘Study the 400-Year Journey.’

“As we have promoted since our centennial in 2015, we encourage you to participate in and share with others the Family Mentoring Mission Statement Activity,” said Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, president of ASALH and the first African American chair of the History Department at Harvard University.  “It was our founder Dr. Woodson who emphasized that family research should take place in every household,” said Higginbotham. “We are continuing that legacy.” Self-knowledge and equality for all remain the goals of ASALH. The official kick-off of the 400th Commemoration is January 1, 2019.