Friday, July 1, 2022

Jamestown Settlement’s ‘After Angelo’ Event Honors Legacy of One of First African Women Recorded in Jamestown

“After Angelo” will feature art, music and storytelling, including a character portrayal by Valarie Gray Holmes. (Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — Jamestown Settlement’s “After Angelo” returns this year for a one-day special event honoring the legacy of one of the first African women mentioned by name in early Virginia’s historical record.

The event, which is being presented for its fourth year this Saturday, Feb. 26, will celebrate African American culture and heritage through art, music, storytelling and conversation. 

Abigail Schumann, exhibition program manager at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, said that the event celebrates the modern day legacy of the first recorded West Central Africans in Virginia.

“According to the 1625 muster, the namesake of our program, Angelo, arrived aboard the Treasurer, one of the two ships, the other being White Lion, that brought the first recorded West Central Africans to Virginia in 1619,” Schumann said. “Through her, we remember them all.”

Jamestown Settlement presents “After Angelo” as its culminating Black History Month event.

Beginning at 12 p.m., Chadra Pittman, founder and executive director of The Sankofa Projects, will present the opening ceremony with “It began with a woman on the White Lion: Remembering Angelo, Araminta and the African Women who Shaped America,” featuring traditional African Libation and drum call.

Then at 1 p.m., Valarie Gray Holmes will perform a character portrayal in “The Heart of Angela.”

The event will feature a variety of art, including the work of artist Jowarnise Caston. (Courtesy of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Other special performances throughout the day include original compositions for violin by Odysseus, spirituals and gospel songs by Rejoicing, storytelling by Dylan Pritchett and Yemimah, and an end-of-day drum circle led by master drummer Adam Canaday.

Using “The Artist as Griot” as the theme, a 2 p.m. community conversation in the Robins Foundation Theater will feature Barbara Hamm Lee, host of WHRV’s “Another View” radio program, and Steve Prince, distinguished artist in residence at William & Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., guests can view African American artwork on display, some of which will be available for purchase, and there will be a space for local organizations promoting and empowering the Black community to share their stories and literature or host special activities. 

The documentary film “1607: A Nation Takes Root” traces the evolution of the Virginia Company that sponsored the Jamestown colony, examines the relationship between the English colonists and the Powhatan Indians, and follows the arrival of the first recorded West Central Africans in 1619.

As part of the event on Feb. 26, education carts will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for visitors to explore the culture and heritage of West Central Africans in 17th-century Virginia.

“We want every visitor, every day, to gain a better understanding of our collective history through special events, exhibits and programs at Jamestown Settlement,” Schumann said. “’After Angelo’ adds an opportunity to learn about the legacy and importance of that shared history through the contributions of some incredibly talented artists and performers from our local communities.”

For more information about the event, visit here.

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