This article first appeared in The Washington Informer, February 6, 2019

ASALH Leads Yearlong Discussion of Forced Migration to VA Colony

ASALH panelists share perspectives. (Bridget White/The Washington Informer)

1619 has served as the “official” date espoused by U.S. history scholars as the year that Africans first arrived in America for centuries. Its validity, that is, the accuracy of the date and the reasons behind the journey of Africans to America, however, has not enjoyed unanimous agreement, particular among Black scholars.

Now, 400 years later, the D.C.-based Association for the Study of African Life and History [ASALH] has launched its first public event in a yearlong commemoration of the forced migration of Africans to Jamestown, one of the first, successful British colonies established in Virginia in 1619, with discussions on the meaning of the year and its relevance throughout the centuries.

With the theme, “400 Years of Perseverance,” Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, ASALH’s national president and chair, History Department at Harvard University, moderated a panel discussion on Friday, Feb. 1 at the National Press Club in Northwest which examined the historical importance of the date and the role of historical preservation and memorization in illuminating the past, among other topics.