A ship called the White Lion was forced to dock in Point Comfort in Hampton, Va., in 1619. It was originally bound for the Caribbean with its cargo, which included African slaves.
That was the first time African slaves were brought to what would become the United States. Unfortunately, it was far from the last ship to bring such a demeaning cargo to our shores.
This weekend marks the 400 year anniversary of the first slave ship landing in what would become the United States.
Glynn County resident Dana Roberts-Beckham can trace her family’s history back to the men and women who endured the bonds of slavery on Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation in north Glynn County.
Her deep devotion to her family’s history led Roberts-Beckham to be tapped to join a committee working with the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to help plan a commemoration of the 400th year of African American culture in the United States. The cross-country program, sponsored by the National Parks Service, is titled a Day of Healing.
This weekend, the anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves will be marked across the country. Bells will ring out in churches and other faith-based venues, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, and will continue for four full minutes, one for each 100 years of slavery.
Needwood Baptist will be holding an event to mark the occasion from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday including spoken word poetry, drumming and singing.
Other churches in the area will also be holding remembrances and ringing bells to mark the occasion.
Emanuel Baptist Church on St. Simons Island will hold a service at 3 p.m. Sunday. Christ Church Frederica and the Unitarian Universalists of Coastal Georgia will also be ringing their bells to mark the occasion.
On Jekyll Island, Faith Chapel will ring its bell and a ceremony will be held at Wanderer Memory Trail at St. Andrews Beach to share the story of the last slave ship, which landed there illegally in 1858.
We are proud to see so many local churches and organizations embracing this important anniversary. We encourage everyone to take some time this weekend to commemorate such an important event.
Let us never forget what was done to the slaves, but let us also never forget the strength and spirit they showed in the face of such horrors.