United Church of Christ

400 Years Commemoration 1619 – 2019 Africans in America

400 Years Commemoration 1619 – 2019 Africans in America
United Church of Christ Restorative Racial Justice Resource

Welcome to the 400 Years Commemoration of 1619 – Africans in America. The 400 Years Commemoration is an opportunity to honor the lives of the 30 enslaved Africans brought to Virginia aboard the English privateer ship White Lion in August, 1619 and then sold to Virginia Company officials in return for supplies at Point Comfort. Records indicate these were the first enslaved Africans in mainland America. Historians describe the enslaved Africans as having a shared cultural identity, and advanced knowledge and skills in agriculture and industry. Virginia’s first Africans were probably enslaved for life.

The 400 Years Commemorative resources are meant to enlarge our understanding of African peoples whose history spans over 70,000 years. The continent of Africa is the cradle of civilization, and the birthplace of the first humans who ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago leaving their genetic footprints still visible today. Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fossils of recognizably modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and where we originated.

Christianity is also birthed and flourishes for centuries alongside the Jewish and Muslim faiths on the African continent. It is vital and important for the Christian Church to remember that our history is not complete until we go back further than colonial narratives. Grounded in the truth of history and living faithfully means actively participating in the work of restorative justice. God is calling the Christian Church to restore a broken world based on the harm of racism.

Below are resources to begin and continue the journey of restorative racial justice. There are biblical, theological, and historical resources, including suggested videos and documentaries. The resources can be read and viewed as part of Bible studies, and weekly gatherings. They are part of a restorative racial justice journey resource, Sacred Conversations to End Racism. May you find all of the resources impactful and renewing for your spiritual and educational growth and journey.

Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice, United Church of Christ

Click on the underlined links to view the online resources

400 Years of Inequity Summitt

  1. November 8-9 | Cleveland Public Auditorium
  2. Summit Agenda with Breakouts

Online Reading Resources

  1. 1619: Virginia’s First Africans, Hampton History Museum Click here 1619: Virginia's First Africans Resource
  2. Association for the Study of African American Life and History Click here 400 Years of Perseverance
  3. Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Click here NAAMHC
  4. Project 1619 Click here Project 1619
  5. New York Times Magazine 1619 Project Click here New York Times Magazine 1619 Project
  6. National Public Radio Interview 1619 Project Click here NPR Interview 1619 Project
  7. International UN Decade for People of African Descent UN Decade for People of African Descent

Videos and Documentary Resources

  1. Ibram Kendi Stamped from the Beginning: Ibram X. Kendi on the History of Racist Ideas in U.S.
    Click here for Stamped from the Beginning
  2. A Lynching Memorial Remembers the Forgotten Click here Equal Justice Initiative Lynching Memorial
  3. Up From Slavery – EPISODE 7 Click here Up From Slavery
  4. Race the Power of an Illusion Study Guide Click here PBS Race Study Guide

The Middle Passage and Enslavement Resources

  1. Sins of the Father: The Atlantic Slave Traders 1441-1807 – James Pope Hennesssy
  2. The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870 – Hugh Thomas
  3. The Slave Ship: A Human History – Marcus Rediker
  4. Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South – Albert J. Raboteau
  5. Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II – Douglas A. Blackmon
  6. Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

Book Resources

  1. Adamo, David Tuesday, Africa and The Africans in the Old Testament, (San Francisco, CA: Christian Universities Press, 1998).
    __________ Africa and Africans in the New Testament, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2006).
  2. Van Sertima, Ivan, They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, (New York, NY: Random House, 1976).
  3. Kendi, Ibram X., Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, (New York, NY: Nation Books, 2016).
    _________ How To Be An Antiracist, (New York, NY: Random House, 2019).
  4. DiAngelo, Robin, What Does It Mean To Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy, (Peter Lang Publishing, 2012).
    ________ White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism, (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2018).
  5. Brown Douglas, Kelly, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God, Books, (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2015).
  6. Higginbotham, Leon A., Jr., Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process, (New York, NY: Oxford Press, 1996).
  7. Horsman, Reginald, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism, (London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981).
  8. Roediger, David R., Working Towards Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White, (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2005).
  9. Jennings, Willie James, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010).
  10. Carter, Kameron J., RACE: A Theological Account, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  11. Mills, Charles, The Racial Contract, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997).

For more information contact Rev. Dr. Velda Love at Lovev@ucc.org(216) 736-3719