August 23-25, 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in North America.
They arrived at Fort Monroe, Virginia, a place where I lived in junior high. Our house was inside the moat. I loved climbing the hill behind my house and looking at the moat. It was the only fort left in the U.S. that actually had water in its moat. I used to walk through the sally port and across the pedestrian bridge (in the photo by B.Payden Photography), unless, of course, my big brother was chasing me on our way to the school bus! Check out Payden’s Photography at:
Now, my 60-year-old memories are changed forever by this knowledge of the beginnings of European enslavement of Africans in the New World. I am deeply sorry to all those who were affected by this gruesome time in our history.
And I look forward to ongoing future commemorations honoring the many roles African men and women filled in building America—clearing the land, tilling the plantations, harvesting the crops, building the structures, developing solutions to difficult problems the new world presented, and so much more.
My hope is that their stories, along with stories of privation of the African population, will be told in American history classes across the country, so we will all have a deeper understanding of our history. And a commitment Never Again to Allow It Happen.