I was asked, by the Jamestown-Yorktown officials charged with the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Africans being brought to Point Comfort, (Hampton) Virginia, to participate in a series of events. In fact, I was asked to be the ‘Honorary Chair of the First Africans to English North America Committee.’ I was surprised to learn that it was only a polite inclusion.
Foolishly, I thought that my being the grandson of slaves, and the first person of color to be elected as Governor of any state in America, that I may have been able to show and speak to what slave conditions were and how direct descendants met with them. The events of 1619 inexorably shaped the history of America’s founding, and continue to ripple through to this very day.
I recently learned that my participation at that level was not intended.
I will, nevertheless, be speaking to you on these issues as the need so to do presents itself.