2019 is the 400th anniversary year of
the fateful 1619 arrival of the first “20
and odd” stolen and captive Africans
in the fledgling colony of Virginia on invaded Native land, and thus the beginning of English slavery in what would become the United States.
Although this beginning was highly significant, and would ultimately become a major force in shaping the modern world, it was not the beginning of African history in America or in the world in general:
a) Africans, free and enslaved, began arriving in North America more than a century earlier, notably West-African-born Spanish conquistador Juan Garrido who landed with Juan Ponce de Leon on the Florida peninsula in 1513, who would outlive Ponce and become the first person to plant and grow wheat in the Americas; and the Moroccan-born Estevanico, who also figured prominently, as did Garrido, in subsequent Spanish exploration and settlement of North America.
b) Compelling evidence, including artifacts, Indigenous American narratives, and the accounts of Spanish explorers themselves, confirm that Africans had been coming to the Americas centuries before Columbus and the era of European expansion.
c) Indeed, further evidence, such as the African presence in the South Pacific islands of Melanesia, attests to African exploration and expansion long before the human trafficking across the Sahara Desert and Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Asia known as the “Arab slave trade” which preceded the Atlantic trafficking by European powers.
WHAT: The African Presence in America before 1619:
A Symposium for a New Narrative
WHEN: Thursday, October 24, 2019, 1:45 - 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bethune-Cookman University
L. Gale Lemerand School of Nursing,
Lucille O’Neal Lecture Hall, Room 156
739 W. International Speedway Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
WHO: Leading Florida Historians, Scholars, Students,
Bethune-Cookman University (College of Liberal Arts & Project Pericles)
Black Rose Foundation for Children
Florida Coalition of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
Florida African American History Task Force