Interior Department to Commemorate Four Hundred Years of African-American History

Aerial View of Fort Monroe
Aerial View of Fort Monroe National Monument.

NPS photo

News Release Date: November 2, 2018

Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

Contact: NewsMedia@nps.gov

Fifteen Federal Commission Members Appointed to Lead the Anniversary Commemoration in 2019

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the appointment of a 15-member commission to coordinate the commemoration of the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the English colonies in 1619.

The 400 Years of African-American History Commission, established by Congress on January 8, 2018, will plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities throughout the United States to recognize and highlight 400 years of African-American contributions. The bill had bipartisan support, and included sponsors from 23 States and the District of Columbia.

“I am honored to appoint this group to oversee such an important milestone in African-American history,” said Secretary Zinke. “As with President Trump’s recent designation creating Camp Nelson National Monument, as well as with the five historic sites designated into the African American Civil Rights Network this past year, this commission will help expand the understanding and appreciation of all facets of African-American history and culture.”

Commission members, many of whom are leaders in the African-American history community, are appointed by the Secretary to serve for the life of the commission, through July 1, 2020. The Secretary received recommendations from governors, members of congress, civil rights and historical organizations, and the Smithsonian Institution. Support for the commission will be provided by the National Park Service. The new commission members include:

  • Mr. Terry E. Brown, Superintendent, Fort Monroe National Monument, National Park Service, Virginia
  • Mr. Lonnie Bunch III, Founding Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; former President, Chicago Historical Society; Former Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.
  • Mr. Ron Carson, Founder, Appalachian African-American Cultural Center; CEO, Carson Black Lung Research and Education Center; formerly of Stone Mountain Health Services, Pennington Gap, Virginia 
  • Ms. Kenya Cox, NAACP Kansas State President; Executive Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, Office of the Governor, Topeka, Kansas
  • Reverend Nora “Anyanwu” Cox, Minister and Founder, Holy Spirit Healing Ministry; Retired Nurse; Community Advocate and Activist, Wichita, Kansas
  • Dr. Rex Ellis, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Former Vice President, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Board of Trustees, Fort Monroe Authority, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Mr. Ted Ellis, Artist and Cultural Historian; Art Ambassador, National Juneteenth Organization, Friendswood, Texas (formerly of New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Mr. Glenn Freeman, President, Omaha Chapter, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, a patriotic, civic organization; retired decorated Air Force Chief Master Sergeant; Omaha, Nebraska
  • Dr. Joseph Green, Jr., Pastor, and Co-Founder Antioch Assembly; Founder/CEO, Josiah Generation Ministries; Founder, The 2019 Movement, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Mr. Hannibal B. Johnson, Attorney, Author, and Independent Consultant specializing in diversity and inclusion/cultural competence issues and non-profit governance, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Mr. Kenneth Johnson, CEO, Johnson, Inc., Richmond-based marketing and communications firm; Board of Trustees, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
  • Mr. Bob Kendrick, President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Mr. George Martin, Managing Partner, McGuireWoods law firm, Richmond office; Member, 2019 Commemoration (VA) Steering Committee, Richmond, Virginia
  • Dr. Myron Pope, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Central Oklahoma; Adjunct Instructor, Department of African and African-American Studies, The University of Oklahoma; Advisory Board Member, Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Edmond, Oklahoma

“Fort Monroe plays a significant role as the site of the first arrival of enslaved Africans in English North America and later, a safe haven for freedom seekers during the American Civil War,” said Superintendent Brown. “During this anniversary we are honored to lead the conversation about the resilience and contributions of African Americans, including the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States.”

The commission is expected to begin meeting later this year and begin to encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations to come together to participate in anniversary activities.



Last updated: November 5, 2018

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