First Africans Traveling Exhibit

First African Landing Vermont Commemoration

The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and Fletcher Free Library presents the 1619: Arrival of the First Africans Traveling Exhibit from the Hampton History Museum (VA). Drawing on the latest research, this exhibit tells the story of the Africans’ home in Angola, how they came to be enslaved aboard a Spanish slave ship San Juan Bautista, the terrible 10,000 nautical mile voyage that brought them to Virginia, and their lives on the farms and plantations in the new colony. 

This exhibit follows the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance sponsored First African Landing Vermont Commemoration (August 24, 2019) and is designed to honor the spirit of the 400 Year African American History Commission; to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination [have] on the United States; and educate the public about the arrival of Africans to the [English colonial] United States and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.

The exhibit will open at Fletcher Free Library on December 6th at 1:00 PM with a community reception and remain on display until a closing community commemorative ceremony on December 15th at 5:00 PM. 

400 Years of African American History Commission

The 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act, signed into law January 8, 2018, established a 15-member commission to coordinate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies. The Commission’s purpose is to plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities throughout the United States that

  • recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans over 400 years;
  • acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States, and more..

This is a time for Vermont to join the global commemoration
to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619 as we reflect upon one of the historical events that forever changed what would become the the United States and the planet as we know it!

The Traveling Exhibit

In commemoration of the 1619 arrival of the first Africans in English North America, the Hampton History Museum has two pop-up versions of its exhibit “1619: Arrival of the First Africans” available for community groups, schools, churches, libraries, events, and other uses. Consisting of 6 retractable banners that can easily be transported in most vehicles. We’re happy to be able to bring it to Vermont.

This report aims to provide a clear, comprehensive overview of what facts are available, what scholars believe and why, and what remains unknown. This report brings together surviving documents and the latest scholarly research in one place for everyone to use. You can find more FAQ’s about the 1619 landing here.

Go here for details on how you can support or sponsor.

About August 1619

As recorded by English colonist John Rolfe, the arrival of “20 and odd” African men and women in late August 1619, was a pivotal moment in the nation’s history. These Africans were stolen by English privateers from a Spanish slave ship and brought to Point Comfort on a ship called the White Lion. Though this first annual African Landing Day Commemoration does not celebrate the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the first Africans to our shores, the commemoration serves as a marker in history that shines a light on the incredibly powerful 400 year journey, and offers some hope in the continued struggle to dismantle the systems of oppression created by the original sin.


Historic Comfort Point is now modern day Hampton, VA

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