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Enslaved African Landing Day Commemoration, Aug. 26 Reconciliation and Healing From The Legacy of Slavery

The annual African Landing Commemoration Day, organized by Project 1619 Incorporated, aims to honor the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the United States and promote reconciliation from the legacy of slavery. Taking place on August 26 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the event features ceremonies, performances, and rituals, including a Bell Ringing Ceremony for Healing and a Flower Petal Ceremony to Remember Lives Lost. This commemoration challenges historical inaccuracies and highlights the true location of the African landing in 1619. The organizers of Project 1619 seek to create a National Memorial to honor the enslaved Africans and continue their mission of historical education and healing. #AfricanLandingCommemoration #Project1619 #SlaveryLegacy

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HAMPTON

The annual African Landing Commemoration Day weekend takes place this year, August 25-27, 2023. The major ceremony will occur on Saturday, August 26 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The weekend highlights the arrival of the nation’s first recorded enslaved Africans and honors African heritage and contributions.

In August 1619, more than 20 Africans landed at Old Point Comfort, the present-day Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., and were forced into labor as slaves.

Until recently, history recorded and generations of school children were taught  that the arrival of enslaved Africans took place in Jamestown, a short distance from Hampton.

However, since 1994, Project 1619 Incorporated, started by Hamptonian Calvin Pearson, founder and president, has been working to set the history straight about where the first enslaved Africans debarked. Project 1619 started African Landing Commemoration Day in 2008.

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“African Landing Commemoration Day is similar to Juneteenth. The landing of enslaved Africans in 1619 is the day that forever changed the fabric of society. It ushered in a system of divide based solely on skin color,” said Pearson in a press release in 2021.

He continued, “We celebrate African Landing Day because there is still room for reconciliation after so many years. It allows us to honor the contributions of our ancestors to make America. They were made to, for the sake of America, endure torture, lynchings and inhumane treatment. The purpose of my organization is to tell the truth about the 1619 landing.”

The Saturday event will include libations, drum call, African dancers and drummers. Organizers encourage guests to bring lawn chairs for additional seating (chairs are provided) and drums to participate in the “Circle of Drums.”

A Bell Ringing Ceremony For Healing, Remembrance and Hope, along with a Flower Petal Ceremony to Remember Lives Lost Through The Middle Passage are among the attractions.

The weekend begins on Friday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. with the Tucker Family Cemetery Commemoration. The Tucker Family of Hampton is recognized as being descendants of  William Tucker, the first African child born in America. This ceremony is held in the Tucker Family Cemetery.

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On Sunday Aug. 27 at Fort Monroe Beach from  6-8 a.m.,  a Cleansing and Healing Program by Priestess Amani Tori Nefer Atum Re  will be held. Attendees are asked to wear white.

One of the future goals of the Project 1619 Incorporated organization is to construct a National Memorial to honor the first enslaved Africans.

For more information go to project 1619.org; Facebook Project 1619.

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