400th Anniversary of the “Twenty and Odd”

Old Point Comfort, August 25, 1619. 400 years later location and a date that doesn’t initially conjure feelings of comfort. But it is the place where many gathered together in order to commemorate one of Virginia’s many major events for it was at Old Point Comfort that Englishmen, guilty of privateering, arrived with the infamously ambiguous “Twenty and Odd Negroes.”

I won’t retell the story, as I have covered these historical events in two episodes, which will be linked below. Instead, let me highlight some of the 400th Commemoration ceremony that took place on August 24th, 2019.

 

 

Fort Monroe was abuzz hours before the official ceremony began. Local police officers and volunteers steered traffic through the streets, while tour guides and National Park Service personnel polished last minute details in advance of the day’s soon-to-be-arriving spectators.

 

 

The program unfolded with a series of short speeches by many of Virginia’s political leaders as well as officials from the rest of the country. The highlight of the day, however, had to be 11 year old Brycen Dildy’s speech that brought the crowd to its feet.

 

 

To finish the day, I took a small side adventure of my own. First I visited nearby William Tucker Cemetery. The Cemetery is name for William Tucker, one of the first African’s to be born in Virginia, and it is the final resting place for many Tucker generations.

 

 

I ended the day on a poignantly solemn note in visiting one of Virginia’s great freedom symbols – Emancipation Oak at Hampton University. This beautiful, captivating tree witnessed Hampton’s Africans hearing the first reading of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Officially no slaves were yet freed, because the famous Proclamation applied to slaves in the Confederate States, though the words certainly encouraged more enslaved blacks to make the almost 3 mile walk to nearby Fort Monroe, where they received asylum by Major General Benjamin Butler. Thus Virginia’s African story returned to her starting point as Africans once again became “Contraband of War” as they realistically were in 1619. This time, however, Old Point Comfort lived up to her name, and comfort in the midst of war came for those escaping slavery’s chains.

 

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of a recreated slave cabin at the 400th Commemoration of Virginia’s First Africans.

K.I. Knight Interview – First Africans and Slavery’s 17th Century Virginia Evolution (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 4)

1619 was a pivotal year in Virginia for many reasons, but author K.I. Knight says that one key issue that did not begin in 1619 was slavery. The “Twenty and odd” did arrive in August 1619, but according to Ms. Knight’s meticulous research the “Twenty” were in fact 14 at first, and many of those 14 went on to help save the colony after the 1622 uprising before securing land of their own. Some of them, like Anthony Johnson, even owned slaves themselves.

For sure, slavery seems to have been around the Virginia landscape in some form by the 1640s,  but it wasn’t the institution that it became by the 18th and 19th centuries. Kathryn puts together an astounding narrative weaving extant court and genealogical records together to prove that the immoral institution evolved over time, before it became legally organized by the late 1690s and early 1700s. Exact beginning dates are hard to pin down, largely due to lost records. Regardless, the foundations for American slavery were being set during the 17th Century, and this episode discusses those foundations as they occurred in Virginia.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

K.I. Knight’s Books and Links:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of author Kathryn Hall Knight at Fort Monroe.

**Special thanks to Terry Brown at Fort Monroe, who graciously lent his office to Kathryn and me for this interview. If you haven’t heard my interview with Terry, please, find that here.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60 “Leningrad”: IV. Allegro Non Troppo by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra directed by Leonard Bernstein, also available on iTunes.

1619 – Women and Angolans Arrive

Few events have left as lasting an impact upon Virginia’s history as the 1619 arrival of either the first women or the first Africans.

Both would shape the colony, and later the state, in unique ways. But what transpired to get both peoples to Virginia? And how did the few hundred surviving men welcome each group? Were they welcomed?

These questions are answered in this episode of the Virginia History Podcast. Find it on your favorite podcast provider, and have a listen!

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Point Comfort was where the captured Angolans disembarked for their new lives in Virginia

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Brown, Kathleen. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Angry Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. 1996.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  8. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  11. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  13. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  14. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  16. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  17. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  18. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  19. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  20. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  21. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  22. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  23. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  24. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  25. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  26. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is William Ludwell Sheppard’s “Wives for Settlers”

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Seasons Colors” by Judah and the Lion, also available on iTunes.