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From Point Comfort to Fort Monroe: The 400th Anniversary of the African Landing

This year, the Fort Monroe National Monument welcomes events and programs associated with the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™and the 400th anniversary of the first Africans to arrive in English North America. At the new Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center, open for a preview in August, visitors will learn more about the 1619 African arrival story, the 1861 Contraband Decision and the military presence at the Fort. Throughout the year, Fort Monroe will host drama, poetry, musical performances, “Campfire Talk” presentations and special events that will highlight the struggles and triumphs of the Africans who first came to our shores and of those who came after. 

August 23-25, 2019
400th Anniversary Commemorative Weekend

A multi-day celebration centered around the First African arrival, including dedication and remembrance ceremonies, gallery exhibits, historical tours, conferences, cultural workshops and a concert featuring Sounds of Blackness.

August 24, 2019
Commemoration Ceremony and Preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center

Events begin 9:30 am with a commemoration ceremony and preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center. Stay for the rest of the day and enjoy cultural demonstrations, vendors, children’s activities, and more in Continental Park.

First African Arrival

In 1619, the ship carrying the first enslaved Africans in the New World reached the shores of North America at Point Comfort, now Fort Monroe. Far from their home in Angola, these farmers, blacksmiths, herders andartisans survived capture and displacement and helped a fledgling nation survive.


The Contraband Decision

During the Civil War, Fort Monroe became known as “Freedom’s Fortress” based on the Contraband Decision of 1861 when three fugitive slaves sought refuge at the fort. Just two years later, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation guaranteeing freedom for all persons held as slaves.


The Black Cultural Tour

Follow the historical connection between African Americans and Fort Monroe by taking the Black Cultural Tour. From Engineer Wharf, marking the first landing of Africans at Old Point Comfort, to the “Contraband Hospital” site where, in 1863, Harriet Tubman served as a nurse and cook, you can take an enjoyable and informative eight-stop walking or driving tour.


Mark Your Calendar

Join us for the 400th Anniversary Commemorative Weekend August 23-25 including the Commemoration Ceremony and preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center Saturday, August 24! Following is a list of 400th Commemoration events here at Fort Monroe. Additional events for Commemoration Weekend may can be found at: firstafricanlanding.com 2019 will be a year to remember at Fort Monroe. We invite you to join us.

Jul
26
Fri
Campfire Talk Series: African Americans in the Military @ The Colonies RV and Travel ParkPark, Shelter #5
Jul 26 @ 7:00 pm – 7:00 pm

African Americans have roots in the military dating back to the foundation of the United States. The contributions and influences of African Americans far outweigh the credit they have received.

Jul
27
Sat
Musical Performances on the Parade Ground: The Sounds of the Blues @ Parade Ground
Jul 27 @ 7:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy music on the Parade Ground with your family.

Aug
3
Sat
Musical Performance on the Parade Ground: The Sounds of Gospel @ Parade Ground
Aug 3 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy music on the Parade Ground with your family.

Aug
10
Sat
Musical Performances on the Parade Ground: The Sounds of Classical Performers @ Parade Ground
Aug 10 @ 7:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy music on the Parade Ground with your family.

Aug
17
Sat
Musical Performances on the Parade Ground: Family Day @ Parade Ground
Aug 17 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Join us for a full day of family fun at the fort! Music, food, games, activities, and more! Come and celebrate the cultural legacy of Africans in the United States.

Aug
23
Fri
400th Anniversary Commemorative Weekend
Aug 23 – Aug 25 all-day

A multi-day celebration centered around the First African arrival, including dedication and remembrance ceremonies, gallery exhibits, historical tours, conferences, cultural workshops and a concert featuring Rhiannon Giddens and Sounds of Blackness.

Aug
24
Sat
Commemoration Ceremony and Preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center @ Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center
Aug 24 @ 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Events begin 9:30 am with a commemoration ceremony and preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center. Stay for the rest of the day and enjoy cultural demonstrations, vendors, children’s activities, and more in Continental Park. Black Cultural Tours will be offered from 12–5 pm, and finish the day with an evening concert at 6 pm. For a complete schedule of events click http://hamptonva2019.com/firstafricanlanding/

Nov
9
Sat
Veterans Day
Nov 9 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

This annual ceremony in partnership with the Fort Monroe Authority, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and Hampton University honors the men and women who bravely served in the United States military, past and present. 2019 will focus on the significant role of African Americans in the United States military. Immediately following all are invited to participate in an installation of United States flags.