Recent focus on the narrative of the First Enslaved Africans.
1619 and the landing of the first enslaved Africans to English Occupied North America at Point Comfort in Virginia represents the beginning of race-based bondage in what would become the United States of America.
The recent intensive and extensive focus on this matter is a matter of deja vu or “Old Wine in New Bottles” for those individuals and organizations that have dedicated decades in the research, teaching and significance of the African landing.
“the transition from human bondage to legalized slavery was the beginning of systematic racism and oppression of people of color that has permeated the social and legal fabric of this land for 400 years…" Project 1619 Inc. documentary
Many individuals writing and/or speaking about this significant event have not examined research dating back to the 1950’s and beyond. It appears that many have opportunistically seized previous information and jumped on the 400th Anniversary bandwagon for attention/self promotion, while ignoring previous serious information about the “African Landing.” Perhaps they saw such information but forgot it?
The cyclical nature of history is sure to force us to remember the past.
"Those first individuals were not slaves at that point in time, so we have to keep asking ourselves why they were made slaves,'' “And we keep coming back to the fact that the decisions to make them slaves were made very carefully.'' Dr. William Wiggins
I taught my former students about this some 46 years ago and owe a debt of gratitude to John Rolfe and pioneering historians. Below is a link to an article that appeared in the Daily Press on August 14, 1994.
As you read this article, please see why much of today’s realization is that the “first Africans'' were brought by pirates to Point Comfort (not Jamestown, VA). Moreover, please know that slavery did not begin in Kecoughtan/Hampton.
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About the Author:
Dr. William Wiggins, historian and scholar of American and African American, Russian, African, Urban, Oral, Social and Intellectual, "Psycho," and Comparative histories, among others, currently resides in Hampton, VA. He is a board member of Project 1619 Inc.
Dr. Wiggins has taught at the University of Connecticut, St. Olaf and
Allegheny Colleges, Hampton University and Columbia University, where he also served as an Assistant Dean.
He is also CEO of Cliosult and Associates, and continues to write, teach, character act, and lecture.