The figure standing in the center of the exhibit for the 1619 landing of the first enslaved Africans in English speaking North America represents the matronly figure of African Matriarchs. The institution of slavery disrupted African family ties and culture through the capture, trade, sale, and forced servitude. The statue is dedicate to Angela, Isabella, and the millions of African women, spread across thousands of miles and hundreds of years, who helped carry on African traditions.
Angela, also possibly spelled Angelo, was one of the first females to be brought to English speaking North America during the landing at Old Point Comfort, Virginia. She had been captured in West Central Africa, and after landing in 1619, she was enslaved by Captain William Pierce in Newtown, Jamestown.
Isabella and her husband Antoney were aboard the White Lion when it landed at Old Point Comfort in late August 1619. They were taken from West Central Africa. Their son William was the first documented child of African descent born in English speaking North America through his baptism record in 1624. Isabella, Antoney, and William were enslaved in the household of Captain William Tucker in present day Hampton.
On the right is the excerpted letter, a portion of which is behind the statue in the Visitor and Education Center @ Fort Monroe exhibit, that was written by John Rolfe to Sir Edwin Sandys. Sandys was the treasurer for the Virginia Company of London. Rolfe uses ambiguous language to describe the events of late August 1619 most likely in order to protect himself due to the fact that the institution of slavery was outlawed in the English colonies.