Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, in partnership with Fort Monroe Authority, Fort Monroe National Monument, and the City of Hampton, will host the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing on August 23-25, 2019 in Hampton, Va. The multi-day event is centered around the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America at Point Comfort in 1619. The event will feature a commemorative ceremony, a preview of the new Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center, black cultural tours, living history demonstrations, storytelling, youth and musical performances, and more.
On Friday, August 23 at 12:00 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Byron Pitts of ABC Nightline, and formerly of CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes, will host the African-American Political Firsts Luncheon featuring panelists Kentucky Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton; L. Douglas Wilder, former governor of Virginia; U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (VA-3), and former mayor and North Carolina State Senator Howard Lee.
On Saturday, August 24 at 9:30 a.m. in Continental Park, Fort Monroe, the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing Ceremony will include remarks from CNN political contributor Van Jones and remarks and greetings from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; U.S. Senator Mark Warner; U.S. Senator Tim Kaine; U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (VA-3), and Dr. Joseph Green, Jr., Chair of 400 Years of African American History Federal Commission. The ceremony will feature African drumming and the I.C. Norcom High School Choir from Portsmouth, Va. Following the ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., there will be musical performances by Cheick Hamala Diabate, a GRAMMY-nominated World Music Artist; EMA Live, a billboard chart topping gospel group, RaJazz, and other musical acts. On the evening of August 24, the 2019 First African Landing Commemoration Concert will take place at the Hampton Coliseum from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., featuring GRAMMY-award winning rapper and actor Common, with Sounds of Blackness.
The weekend commemoration will conclude on Sunday, August 25 with the Day of Healing and Gospel Music Festival from 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Continental Park. The event will include a bell ringing across the United States, gospel choir performances, and a keynote speech by Reverend Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, academic, author, media personality. The event will additionally feature a National Park Service Town Hall, libation ceremony, blessing of the land, a tribute to the ancestors with a release of 400 butterflies, and Ghanaian drumming. Dr. Michael Battle, General Theological Seminary and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York, will also make an address. The Gospel Music Festival will feature performances by 4 Him Gospel Quartet, Recording Artist Damien Sneed, and the First Baptist Church of Hampton Choir.
For more information, including a full list of programming about the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing Weekend in Hampton, Va., visit: firstafricanlanding.com.