By Vanessa Mbonu, NAACP Digital Director
NAACP — History commonly points to late August in the year 1619 when some “20 and odd Negroes” originating from Angola arrived in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia as the first documented enslaved Africans to land in what is now The United States of America. Fast forward to 2019 through the continued metamorphosis of the African American, we mark the 400th anniversary of our arrival as men and women still fighting for equal rights, justice and freedom. Our resilience is unmatched.
To commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival in the United States, NAACP leaders, activists and entertainers will travel from Jamestown, Virginia, to Jamestown, Accra, as part of Ghana’s “Year of Return” initiative. Jamestown to Jamestown represents one of the most powerful moments in the history of the Black Experience. We are now able to actualize the healing and collective unity so many generations have worked to achieve in ways which bring power to our communities in America, Africa and throughout our Diaspora.
This once in a lifetime opportunity begins on August 18 in Washington, D.C. where participants will travel via bus to Jamestown, Virginia for a prayer vigil and candle lighting ceremony marking the African “Maafa,” a term describing the horrific suffering embedded in the past four centuries related to the enslavement process. They will then travel back to D.C. for a special gathering at the National Museum of African American History and Culture designed by Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye, prior to departing to Ghana on a direct flight for 7 to 10 days of rich cultural, spiritual and cathartic experiences designed to connect our present to our African past. Together, we will empower and invigorate the continued struggle for full liberation and justice worldwide.