1619 The Making of America


In August of 1619 the first documented group of Africans arrived in Jamestown Virginia. Ironically, their arrival was preceded by the first legislative assembly of the Virginia Colony. These events were the beginning of a long trajectory, a chain of history, that profoundly shaped what Virginia and eventually the United States would become; and their impact continues to be felt strongly in the present day.

This September at Norfolk State University, 1619 The Making of America seeks to explore this confluence of events and examine questions including:

  • How should America (Virginia in particular) prepare for the 400th anniversary of 1619?
  • What kinds of themes and new ways of understanding can emerge from this anniversary?
  • What makes this anniversary meaningful in the lives of ordinary Americans today?

The conference – sponsored by VFH, Norfolk State University, the Middle Passage Project, the Lemon Project at the College of William and Mary, and the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia – is designed to lay the groundwork for a national dialogue in the years leading up to 2019.

VFH encourages programs that explore Virginia’s history and shed new light on our collective past. We invite you to register for 1619 The Making of America and join us in examining the historical forces that were set in motion when Native American, European, and African cultures came together in Virginia.

The Fall 2012 statewide meeting of the Virginia African American Museums and Historic Sites Network will take place Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Norfolk State University in conjunction with the 1619 conference.