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May 31, 2019

Chancellor's Office

Dear Campus Community,

This year is the 400th year anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves at England’s Colony of Virginia, marking the beginning of slavery on the North American continent.

Last year the federal 400 Years of African American History Commission Act was signed into law and now, together as a country and a campus, we will acknowledge, study, and discuss the meaning and lasting impact of a despicable chapter in our nation’s history.

May 22, 2019

The Smithsonian

One hundred and fifty-nine years ago, slave traders stole Lorna Gail Woods’ great-great grandfather from what is now Benin in West Africa. Her ancestor, Charlie Lewis, was brutally ripped from his homeland, along with 109 other Africans, and brought to Alabama on the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to arrive in the United States. Today, researchers confirmed that the remains of that vessel, long rumored to exist but elusive for decades, have been found along the Mobile River, near 12 Mile Island and just north of the Mobile Bay delta.

May 1, 2019

Christian Science Monitor

Her name, as written down for the first time in a 17th-century muster, was Angelo.

She is now known to history as Angela, one of “20 ... odd” twice-captured Angolans who became the first enslaved people in British North America 400 years ago this summer.

February 19, 2019

Berkeley News

In 1849, a man named Abraham Holland packed up his things and left his life on the East Coast for California, in hopes that he’d strike it rich. The year before, gold had been discovered in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and people were coming from across the U.S. — and the world — to seek their fortune. It became known as the California Gold Rush. It marked a new set of opportunities for African American migration to California.

January 17, 2019


At the Valentine gallery in Richmond, Virginia, Free Egunfemi shows me a portrait that will be unveiled later this year.

“So this is Gabriel,” says Egunfemi, independent historian and founder of Untold RVA, an organization devoted to sharing Richmond’s untold stories.

She tells me Gabriel was an enslaved man who tried to hold the governor of Virginia hostage in 1800 to bargain for freedom for slaves. No one knows what he looked like. Egunfemi commissioned the painting.

January 1, 2019


For African Americans, this New Year marks 400 years of perseverance. Records reveal, in 1619, at least twenty Africans arrived in the fledgling English colony of Virginia. This English colony had been founded only a few years earlier, in 1607. Today, a website will serve as a clearinghouse for local, national and even international events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the Virginia Colony.