Arrival of the First Africans in English America
In 2019, Americans commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the first documented Africans in English America, who arrived in Virginia from Angola in August 1619. This momentous arrival, an event that inspired new scholarship on the meaning of our nation's origins and founding principles, as well as fierce controversy over the legacy of slavery. Based on the book the Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia (2020), the documentary considers all the forces at play in this complex story: international politics during the era of European maritime exploration; the rich if not well understood history and culture of West Africa; the role of religion, from the indigenous to the institutionalized; the transatlantic slave trade; and the often-tragic consequences of global financial competition, piracy, and corruption. Most of all, the story of these thirty-two Africans, finally returning to them something that history and all its controversies had stolen: their voices.