Town Crier Articles

1619 - 2019: Remembering 400 Years
Posted on March 30, 2019 11:41 PM by Warren Buck
Categories: Life in New Town

This year of 2019 marks 400 years after the official beginning of the American slave trade. That year, some 23 Africans arrived in Hampton and were sold into enslavement.  Many of these newly arrived Africans were scattered throughout the James River area - including Jamestown founded in 1607.  Details of this arrival are still being research and studied. 


William & Mary marks 2019 as a year to remember and recognize it is 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived not far from New Town.  William & Mary, founded in 1693, has had an over three century relationship with African Americans; from owning enslaved Africans to build and maintain the campus; supporting enrolled students who brought their own enslaved to live with them; employing African American staff, supporting Jim Crow laws aimed at restricting the movements of African Americans and keep them separate from white Americans, enrolling African American students, employing African Americans in key administrative roles, creating the Lemon Project (a program to encourage scholarship on the relationship between African Americans and W&M), awarding African Americans Honorary Degrees, naming two dormitories after African Americans (one for the enslaved man named Lemon - the other after Associate Dean Caroll F.S. Hardy), to having African Americans on its governing body - the Board of Visitors. 


The 1619 - 2019: Remembering 400 years website contains a list of events scheduled during the year. William & Mary invites community participation in these events.   


The website also highlights two Board of Visitors’ resolutions important to 400 years of Remembering. In April 2009, the Board adopted a resolution that acknowledged William & Mary's role in slavery and the era of Jim Crow and established "The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation” as a long-term research project.  In April 2018, the Board adopted a resolution in which members acknowledged that “William & Mary enslaved people, exploited them and their labor, and perpetuated the legacies of racial discrimination.” The Board expressed profound regrets for these activities and apologized for them.


There are other events and related experiences that are not sponsored by William & Mary, such as the “Angela Site” at Jamestown.