African Landing Memorial Vision

This one-of-a-kind sculpture will commemorate a singular moment that reverberates through the fabric of more than 400 years of American history—the landing of the first Africans to the Virginia Colony in English North America in August, 1619, here at Point Comfort. Collectively, this memorial and interpretive and education programs will provide an opportunity for national and international audiences to openly discuss together our past to foster a new understanding of our nation’s beginning.

The UNESCO Slave Route Project

Launched in 1994, the international and inter-regional project ‘The Slave Route: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage’ addresses the history of the slave trade and slavery through the prism of intercultural dialogue, a culture of peace and reconciliation.

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The memorial will present an occasion to reflect on the history, stories, and contributions of Africans and their descendants in this new world; through demonstrated examples of survival, resistance, perseverance, and ingenuity.

A Journey from Africa to America in 1619

In May 1619 a Portuguese ship, the San Juan Bautista, sailed for Veracruz, Mexico with 350 enslaved Africans taken from Angola, West Central Africa. After stopping in Jamaica, the ship was attacked and defeated by two English privateers, the White Lion and the Treasurer. Both Captains seized a portion of the human cargo and set sail for a safe haven. After weathering a storm, and running out of food the White Lion arrived at Point Comfort in August 1619 with ”20. and odd Negroes” where they were sold to colonists in exchange for supplies. This group of men and women were the first documented Africans to arrive on the mainland of the English occupied North American colonies.

Map image by USA Today

About the Sculptor

Brian R. Owens

A second-generation professional sculptor and painter is best known for monumental bronze sculpture in public places and museum-quality oil portraiture. His notable works include sculpture of civil rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman in downtown St. Louis, Missouri and St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument in St. Augustine, Florida.

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