Jamestown, Calvin Pearson, Chesapeake Bay discussed on PRI's The World

PRI's The World
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Nine. There was the constant threat of attack by sea from the Spanish service a lookout and allow the colonists. Upper Jamestown, forty miles up the river to know, hey, somebody potential enemies coming into the into the Chesapeake Bay, and we need to prepare at I four had burned down by the time a ship called the white lion. Arrived carrying twenty African slaves. They were traded for food and supplies, even though there were no written laws governing slavery at the time. John wall who was the secretary of the column he records event, John? Ralph was poke haunted husband. He noted the date as August sixteen nineteen. Climb up to an overlook on top of the fort an American flag snaps in the wind. You look out on the horizon, and you can see why there's a fort here. Looking down at an expansive natural harbor for the Atlantic. Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay and the James river in front of us across the water are three aircraft carriers and Norfolk naval station the largest naval port in the world. Sixteen nineteen state markers. Actually, it's so bright can barely see. But it's a state market right down there along the seawall to white time with black letters. That says this is where the first inflamed Africans arrived. It went up in the nineteen ninety s before that Calvin Pearson says no one knew the real history Pearson grew up in Hampton, the city that's home to fort Monroe me, why is the landing so important. And I tell them that to me is like your birth. You can only be born one time, nobody can change that fact to their propaganda or marketing or promotion, no in tourism needs Pearson's talking about historic Jamestown, an attraction with colonial archaeological sites and reconstructed buildings. He says people thought it was the arrival site so Pearson founded a group called project sixteen nineteen it's been working for more than two decades to raise awareness. That the first Africans arrived at point comfort renew. Eventually the four hundred anniversary would come. It was important to us start this movement twenty five years ago because if we had not the story we telling today, the commemoration that Virginia is starting to promote would have taken place at Jamestown. They suddenly arrived at point comfort. We have Johm roofs sauce for that. But that's no mentioned in the sources the the Africans actually landed that James horn is president of Jamestown rediscovery the foundation that runs historic Jamestown. He thinks the Africans were probably kept on the ship at point comfort. So they wouldn't have a chance to escape horn says it's likely buyers road out to the ship to barter on board, then returned with the slaves to Jamestown the next census shows several living there along with Africans from the white lions sistership the treasurer we. Jamestown without any question a site where one of those first Africans Angela lift, and I think that without taking anything away from point comfort on Hampton in terms of that's where the ships stopped home route. What significant to me is we might learn more about the African experience by looking at the actual places. They did live rather than simply at a place where two ships arrived. There are a lot of archival records that no one's gone through yet right now. No one can say they know for sure where exactly the first slave Africans set foot. And what today is the US wherever it was Robert Kelly, the fort Monroe historian says there would be a nice poetic symmetry if it happened at point comfort because of the other big rule this place played in history on the same site where slavery begins. We see it in America. We see it began to unravel Kelly's talking about the. Civil war fort Monroe stayed in the union, even though Virginia had seceded and the fort was south of the capital of the confederacy Richmond. A hundred miles northwest things were tents may of eighteen sixty one three enslave men stole a boat just across the water in confederacy controlled country and paddled nearly three miles to fort Monroe where they asked for safe haven. It was the second day on the job for Major General Benjamin Butler. He was faced with the decision that at that point even president Lincoln had voided making whether the north should stand for freedom for slaves interviews, each each one of the men and has to decide what to do when a Representative for their owner, actually, a confederate appears here.

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