1619 was the year the first Africans arrived on the North American continent. There were at least 20 of them and they came as slaves from Angola. But what’s often overlooked is the culture they brought with them. Many were Christians with European names like Jean Pedro and Angela, and some came from cities. Scholars Linda Heywood and John Thornton recently discussed the lives of these first Africans at Norfolk State University’s 1619: The Making of America conference. Also featured: When we think of colonial American essayists, New Englanders like Cotton Mather and Ben Franklin come to mind. But recently discovered essays by an anonymous writer who called himself “The Humourist” are now being hailed as some of the best in America’s colonial period. Brent Kendrick (Lord Fairfax Community College) thinks he’s discovered the real identity of their author.

Want to dig deeper? Explore Encyclopedia Virginia:

Virginia’s First Africans

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