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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Museum releases new report on arrival of first Africans at Point Comfort in 1619

HAMPTON — The Hampton History Museum has prepared a new report detailing the arrival nearly 400 years ago of a small group of Africans at Point Comfort.

The report, “1619: Virginia’s First Africans,” tells how the Africans came to be aboard the English privateer ship that landed at Point Comfort – they were the first recorded Africans to arrive in England’s mainland colonies – and the role their arrival played in the future of America, according to a news release from the museum.

The 400th anniversary of the 1619 arrival will be celebrated locally, statewide and nationally this August.

The museum already has a special exhibit highlighting the arrival. According to the museum: “The landing of the first Africans in Virginia is one of the most significant events we interpret. Although English colonists in Virginia did not invent slavery, and the transition from a handful of bound African laborers to a legalized system of full-blown chattel slavery took many decades, 1619 marks the beginning of race-based bondage that defined the African American experience.”

Hampton’s status as the location for the first landing is a double-edged sword. We are uniquely positioned to tell a powerful story, but it is a challenging narrative fraught with controversy, myth, and contradictions that strike at the heart of the intersection between American slavery and American freedom.”

The report was prepared by museum historian Beth Austin.

Along with several frequently asked questions and other information, it can be found at You can also go online to learn more about the 1619 commemoration that will be held in Hampton Aug. 19-21.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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