‘This Has Been A Journey’: One Virginian Reflects On Their Ancestors 400 Years After Slavery’s Start | Here & Now

Superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument, Terry E. Brown, poses near a historical marker at the fort, August 19, 2019, in Hampton, Virginia. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

August 23, 2019 Peter O’Dowd

In late August, 1619, some “twenty and odd” Africans captured in present-day Angola landed in a southern Virginia port called Point Comfort. They were the first people in the British colonies of North America to be sold into slavery.

That site in Hampton, Virginia, later became home to Fort Monroe, which played a crucial role in the dismantling of American slavery during the Civil War.

Officials with the Fort Monroe National Monument have planned a commemorative weekend marking 400 years since the first documented arrival of Africans in the colonies, and one of the people participating in that event is Ajena Cason Rogers, who has traced her family history back to American slavery’s early days.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Rogers.

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