A Page From Our American Story

“Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, than if men should rob or steal us away, and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating housbands (sic) from their wives and children.” –  Germantown meeting

It was on this date in 1619 that 20 Africans arrive at Hampton, Virginia, aboard a Dutch ship. They were the first Africans on record to be forcibly settled as involuntary laborers in the North American British Colonies.

Africans came ashore at Point Comfort, present day Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA. President Barack Obama declared Fort Monroe a National Monument in 2011 in part because he said that is where the first Africans came ashore in North America.

The slave trade began in the mid 1400’s and what we now know as South America. Brazil was the first country in the Americas to benefit from the slave trade initiated by Portugal. Slavery in the west moved up the South American coast through the Caribbean into what became Florida with few records kept before the Dutch cargo docked in Virginia.

Black First:
2,000 years of extraordinary achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 0-8103-9490-1

 – Project 1619

– National Museum of African American History and Culture

— from The Germantown Protest (against slavery).

image from AAREG.org


Board of Directors

We are a Grassroots organization whose members have been working for 25 years to get America and the World to know the true history about the arrival of the first Africans to land in Colonial America at Point Comfort, today’s Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, in August 1619.

Board Members
Calvin Pearson, President

Audrey Williams, Secretary

Dr. William Wiggins, History and Educational Director

Gary Kelly

Larry Gibson

Margaret Bristow

Melinda Steele

Rivers Taylor

Jannie Evans

Past Board Members

Willis Evans  –  deceased

Hugh Harrell III – deceased


National Advisory Board Members
Venita Benitez, Founder, National Freedom Day, Dallas, Texas
Prof. Robert Watson, Professor, Hampton University
Kathryn Knight, Book Author, Historian, Genealogist, Florida
Mr. Andrew Williams, Jr., President, Five Point Foundation Inc., Los Angeles, California

Affiliated Organizations
Weyanoke Red Black
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
Hampton Contraband Historical Society
The City of Hampton
National Freedom Day
Kinfolkdetective.com                                                                                                                                                                           AAHGS

The Journey to Emancipation: the Germantown Protest, 1688

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.A Page From Our American Story“Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, than if men should rob or steal us away, and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating housbands (sic) from their wives and children.” — from The Germantown Protest (against slavery).

In 1565, the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, in what is now Florida, became the first permanent European settlement in North America. Among the settlement’s population were some of the first enslaved Africans brought to the New World.

The first permanent settlement of African slaves in British Colonial North America arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, via a Dutch slave trading ship in 1619. It wasn’t long before the American colonies found themselves economically dependent on slave trading and enslaved labor.

Emancipation Proclamation Reproduction
Reproduction of the Emancipation
Proclamation at the National Underground
Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

More than two hundred years later, on January 1, 1863, in the midst of our civil war, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation would free slaves in the rebellious southern states. The Proclamation, along with the voices and actions of individuals such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, and others, would ultimately lead to the passage of the 13th Amendment two years later, ending slavery in the United States and freeing nearly four million African Americans.

Reaching that milestone, however, was a long, painful, and bloody process. One of the earliest recorded actions toward ending slavery was taken by a small group of Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania Colony, in 1688.

Before slavery truly became institutionalized in the colonies, some Africans were sometimes treated more like indentured servants who were freed once their service ended or debt had been paid, a practice employed at times by various early Dutch and Spanish explorers and settlers. However, this changed dramatically in 1641 when Massachusetts became the first British mainland colony to legalize slavery. From that time forward, colonial slave laws became more restrictive, further codifying the institution.

Not everyone was blind to slavery’s immorality. Although slavery played a major role in the economy of colonial Rhode Island, there were some who tried to temper the practice with a 1652 law that placed restrictions on slave owning and prohibited enslavement of any person for more than 10 years. However, the effect was limited. Slave holders simply sold anyone nearing the deadline and took ownership of new slaves, thus continuing the cycle.

Bas-relief portrait of Francis Daniel Pastorius,
c. 1897. From the Library of Congress.

In 1688, Francis Daniel Pastorius, and three of his fellow Quakers, drafted the first, formal anti-slavery resolution in America. The resolution raised objections to slavery on both moral and practical grounds during a period when Pennsylvania Quakers were nearly unanimous in their acceptance of the practice.

The decree is referred to as “The Germantown Protest,” or “1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery.” It articulated themes of justice and equality that would be echoed throughout the long, painful period of slavery in America.

The authors’ premise was based on the biblical “Golden Rule” — treat others as you wish to be treated. Additionally, the authors recognized that colonial slave treatment mirrored the persecution Quakers had seen in Europe, and, to an extent, in the colonies.

“There is a saying, that we should do to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent, or colour (sic) they are… To bring men hither [to America], or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against.”

Sadly, “The Germantown Protest” did not spark a significant change in the Americas against slavery. Even within Quaker communities the declaration was ignored, at least initially. But a seed had been planted. A belief shared silently by many was given voice.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. While it is tempting to view the Proclamation solely through the lens of Civil War events, in order to grasp the full context and importance of Lincoln’s decision, we must examine the issue of slavery in the North American colonies from its beginnings. From the Spanish colony in St. Augustine, to the first Dutch ship sailing into Jamestown, and to the Civil War waged to end it, slavery was a 300-plus year institution in America, leaving scars, fortunes, and repercussions we deal with still today.

dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best,

Lonnie Bunch

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is

African American History … 1619 – 1989


1619- First Blacks Arrive in Jamestown
1638- First Slaves Arrive in Massachusetts
1664- Black-White Marriages Outlawed
1688- Quakers Oppose Slavery
1712- First Slave Revolt
1770- Black Killed in Boston Massacre
1773- First Black Church Founded
1775- Society of Abolition of Slavery Established
1776- Blacks and the Revolutionary War
1777- Vermont Abolishes Slavery
1787- Northwest Ordinance
1793- First Fugitive Slave Law
1793- Cotton Gin
1800- Slave Uprising Near Richmond
1807- Slave Importation Banned
1820- Missouri Compromise
1821- Liberia Founded
1829- Walker’s Appeal
1831- First Negro Convention
1831- “Liberator” Published
1831- Nat Turner Rebellion
1839- Slave Revolt Aboard Ship
1843- Call for Revolt
1847- Douglass Publishes “North Star”
1849- Harriet Tubman Escapes
1850- Compromise of 1850
1852- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Published
1857- Dred Scott Decision
1859- John Brown Raid
1860- Lincoln Elected
1862- Blacks Enlist in Union Army
1863- Emancipation Proclamation
1863- Draft Riots in New York
1865- Thirteenth Amendment Ratified
1865- Freedmen’s Bureau Created
1867- Reconstruction Act Passed
1867- Howard University Founded
1870- First Black Senator
1875- Civil Rights Bill Passed
1877- Reconstruction Ends
1877- First Black Graduates from West Point
1881- Tuskegee Institute Founded
1883- Civil Rights Act Unconstitutional
1890- Blacks Excluded from Southern Politics
1896- Segregation Legal
1898- Blacks Serve in Spanish-American War
1904- Booker T Washington, Black Leader
1904- Niagara Movement Begun
1908- NAACP Founded
1917- Great Migration Begins
1917- Race Riots in Illinois
1917- Blacks and World War I
1920- Universal Negro Imporvement Association Meets
1925- Brotherhood of Rail Porters
1931- Scottsboro Trial
1936- Jesse Owens Wins Four Gold Medals
1936- NAACP Sues for Equal Pay
1940- First Black General
1941- FDR Forbids Discrimination
1943- Race Riots in Harlem
1944- Adam Clayton Powell Elected to Congress
1944- All White Primary Illegal
1946- Truman Appoints Panel
1947- Jackie Robinson Becomes First Black Major Leaguer
1948- Military Desegregated
1950- Ralph Bunche Receives Nobel Prize
1953- Washington’s Restaurants Desegregated
1954- Schools Ordered to Desegregate
1955- Bus Boycott Begins
1957- Voting Act of 1957
1960- Widespread Protest Throughout South
1961- Freedom Riders
1962- James Meredith Enters University of Mississippi
1963- March On Washington
1964- Rioting in US Cities
1964- Civil Rights Workers Slain
1964- King Receives Nobel Peace Prize
1964- Selma to Montgomery March
1965- Malcolm X Assassinated
1965- Los Angeles Riots
1966- James Meredith Shot
1967- First Black Senator Since Reconstruction
1967- First Black Supreme Court Justice
1968- Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated
1974- Samuel Gravely Becomes the First Black Admiral in US Navy
1976- Tom Bradley, Mayor of Los Angeles
1977- Young, Ambassador to UN
1984- Jesse Lackson Runs for President
1987- Powell, Security Advisor to President
1989- Powell, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

and now you can read possibly get the #1619Project find out how your School can include this into your curriculum