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400th anniversary commemoration
of the arrival of African captives
to Jamestown
Get Your Tickets Now
 Williamsburg, Virginia
Saturday, August 17, 2019
9 am-10 pm
All Ages
Advance tickets are only $30 for adults, FREE for children 15 & under. This includes access to all activities and performances occurring at Billsburg Brewery / James City County Marina.  
1619 Fest will culminate with a live music concert, headlined by the internationally known, one and only, esteemed singer, poet and thinker Akae Beka (Vaughn Benjamin), formerly known as the voice of Midnite. In addition, there will be opening performances by Mighty Joshua and Cultivated Mind!
The 400th anniversary commemoration of the arrival of African captives to Jamestown offers a new generation the opportunity to ask questions never raised by previous generations. 1619 marked the beginnings of English use of African slave labor. However, history and public memory has largely chosen to exclude people of African descent from America’s origin narrative. History often factors the First Africans into the origin story only as a historical footnote, if at all. The material representation of Africans and their descendants is never elevated to the level granted to the English. Their labor contributions have largely remained invisible and under-valued. However, on August 17th, 2019, 1619Fest will pay tribute to the memory of those first Africans who were brought against their will 400 years ago.
1619Fest also aims to reverse the propaganda of disassociating African Americans from Africa. Too often the story of African Americans begins with slavery, at the consequence of the older, African selves being lost. The history of seventeenth century Angola, where the first Africans were taken, is omitted from our history teachings. Key figures of African resistance to colonialism, like Queen Njinga Mbandi, are never mentioned when the global origins of Jamestown are discussed.
Lastly, recognizing that the subjectivity of the memorialization of America’s past and lack of English writing on the nature of early Black life in America has undoubtedly contributed to the unbalanced material representation of African Americans in the origin story, we acknowledge that Archaeology is helping provide that connection to the past. Current excavations, particularly at the “Angela Site”, are providing necessary documentation and critical insight about the conditions and stresses under which the First Africans lived and how they died. While we’ll never know the names of most of the early African Americans, the objectivity of archaeology is helping to shift the origin narrative of Jamestown. As Jamestown evolves, it will result in not only a more accurate framing of America’s past, but play a critical role in shaping it’s present and future as well.
It is the hope of the 1619Fest organizers that Jamestown will continue to evolve and help ignite a willingness to grapple with the implications of slavery, ultimately leading to a path to atonement and help Americans heal the wounds of slavery.
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RBA Publishing & Publicity  •  P.O. Box 920  •  Arcata, CA 95518

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