Back to All Events

400 years of African American History Commemoration

In August 1619, 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Point Comfort in the English colony of Virginia—this site is now part of Fort Monroe National Monument.

The 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act, signed into law January 8, 2018, established a 15-member commission to coordinate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies. The Commission’s purpose is to plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities throughout the United States that

  • recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans over 400 years;

  • acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States;

  • encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, and economic organizations to organize and take part in anniversary activities;

  • assist states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration; and

  • coordinate public scholarly research about the arrival of Africans and their contributions to the United States.

    The Commission's logo symbolizes 400 years of African-American history: the drum stands for global communications and healing; segmented chains represent breaking the cycle of slavery and the perpetual struggle for equality; two stars depict balance between inspiration and aspiration.

    Ted Ellis/400 Years of African-American History Commission

Earlier Event: August 30
The Importance of Education
Later Event: August 31
Willow Hill Alumni Reunion