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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jamestown Rediscovery Dedicates New Book to Historic Interpreter Valarie Gray-Holmes

Authors of Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans present Valarie Gray-Holmes with a copy of the book dedicated to her. (Courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery)

JAMESTOWN — Jamestown Rediscovery recently released a new book called “Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans” based on archeological research into the lives of the earliest Africans to arrive in Jamestown.

Angela Jamestown and the First Africans will be available to buy online or at Historic Jamestowne. (Courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery)

“‘About the Latter end of August’ in 1619, prominent planter/merchant John Rolfe reported, ’20 and odd’ Africans were forcibly brought to Point Comfort, at the mouth of the James River,” According to Jamestown Rediscovery.

The 400-year anniversary of the 1619 arrival — against their will — of the first Africans in Virginia was commemorated in 2019.

Angela — recorded as “Angelo” — is one name from the new world’s earliest groups of Africans that has survived the test of time.

The name was found in a colony-wide census document from 1625 where she was listed as living in the household of Captain William Pierce of New Towne.

A view of the Angela site in 2017, with the Ambler Mansion on the left and the excavations on the right.(Courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery)

The historical figure has an archeological site named after her and has been portrayed by Historic Jamestowne interpreter Valarie Holmes.

The recently-published book has been dedicated to Holmes, who brought Angela to life during public programs at Historic Jamestowne.

The research project is a collaboration between the National Park Service and the Jamestown Rediscovery team.

According to Jamestown Rediscovery, “Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans” presents the archaeological discoveries that uncovered Angela’s home, the technologies that revealed hidden landscapes, and the archival research that illuminated the lives of the First Africans in both Angola and Virginia.

“The story of Angela and the First Africans is a key part of our collective history that has been hidden for far too long,” said Primary Author and Director of Archaeology at Jamestown Rediscovery David M. Givens in the book release announcement. “This new book shines a light on the lives of the First Africans, and explores Angela’s experiences through the physical traces she left behind at Jamestown.”

For more information on the book, check out Historic Jamestowne’s official website. The book is also available in person to visitors at the Historic Jamestowne museum store.

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