First Africans at Jamestown

On Saturday, August 15, 2009, Historic Jamestowne will conduct special walking tours and programs commemorating the anniversary of the 1619 arrival of the first Africans in Virginia.

A special 45-minute Ranger program will discuss African-American history at Jamestown. Times:
11:00 am
2:30 pm

Jerome Bridges protraying Anthony Johnsome an African-American at Jamestown
Jerome Bridges protraying Anthony Johnson

A Living History program will protray Anthony Johnson, an indentured servant and freedman who lived at Jamestown.
10:00 am
12:30 pm
3:30 pm

These programs will focus on the events that brought the first Africans to Jamestown and the contributions of early African Americans in Virginia.

About the First Africans at Jamestown
In mid-August 1619 John Rolfe wrote in a letter that "20 and odd Negroes arrived..." at Point Confort aboard a Dutch man-of-war. Traded for provisions, these Africans were loaded onto another ship and brought to Jamestown and placed into servitude. Like their penniless English counterparts, these first African settlers in Virginia were destined to spend a period of at least seven years in indentured servitude before gaining freedom. By the third quarter of the seventeenth century, however, term servitude evolved into bondage for life, or slavery, for many Africans in the colony.


Historic Jamestowne offers a wealth of activities for exploring the first permanent English settlement in North America. Visitors can share the moment of discovery with archaeologists and witness archaeology-in-action at the 1607 James Fort excavation; learn about the Jamestown Rediscovery excavation at the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, the site's new archaeology museum; tour the original 17th-century church tower and reconstructed 17th-century Jamestown Memorial Church, and tour the New Towne area along the scenic James River.

Entrance Gate to the site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Voorhees Archaearium is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The grounds remain open until dusk.

Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by the National Park Service and Preservation Vriginia and preserves the originial site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Entrance fee at all National Parks will be waived on August 14 and 15 nationwide.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, VA 23690


(757) 856-1200

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