Commemoration of the First African Landing

A view of the outside two stone bastion walls, a water moat, and a flagpole with the American flag flying against a blue sky.
A view of the outside two stone bastion walls at Fort Monroe.

NPS Photo

A sign explains how the first Africans in arrived Virginia. It stands along a sidewalk next to the water.
First Africans in Virginia sign stands just outside of Fort Monroe.

NPS Photo

Friday, August 20, 2021 - Saturday, August 21, 2021

The multi-day event commemorates the 402nd anniversary of the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America at Point Comfort in 1619. As recorded by English colonist John Rolfe, the arrival of “20. and odd” African men and women at Point Comfort in late August 1619, was a pivotal moment in the nation’s history. Stolen by English privateers from a Spanish slave ship and brought to Point Comfort on a ship called the White Lion, these natives of west central Africa are believed to have been traded for food and supplies. They were the first Africans to be brought to English North America. The site of the ship’s arrival is the present site of Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

All events are free and open to the public

Friday, August 20, 2021
1 Sharon Court
Hampton, VA 23666

  • 11 am - 1 pm – Tucker Family Cemetery Reflection and Commemoration is Bridging the Gap featured speaker Angolan Ambassador Joaquin do Espirito Santo. Presented by: William Tucker 1624 Society
Portraits of Delfeayo Marsalis on the left wearing a blue jacket holding trombone and KRS-One on the right wearing black shirt and hooded jacket
Acclaimed performers Delfeayo Marsalis, left, and KRS-One, right

Delfeayo Marsalis and KRS-One

Saturday, August 21, 2021
Continental Park, Fort Monroe
  • 11 am – Opening program will include traditions and culture of West Africa including the pouring of libation, dancers, and drummers; welcome messages; stakeholder special remarks; featured keynote address by author, performer, producer, and emcee KRS-One.
  • 12 noon – National Bell Ringing Ceremony followed by reflections from invited West African delegates and representatives and concludes with a procession and wreath laying.
  • 1:30 pm – Evolution of Freedom concert featuring acclaimed trombonist, composer, and producer Delfeayo Maralis; and a "talk-back" session with KRS-One.

    Cosponsored by: Project 1619, City of Hampton, Fort Monroe Authority, National Park Service

Last updated: August 20, 2021

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Mailing Address:

41 Bernard Road
Building #17

Fort Monroe , VA 23651-1001


757-722-FORT (3678)

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