DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)— People are gathering nationwide to commemorate African American history this month.
In late august of 1619, the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia— this month marking 400 years of African American history in our nation.
“Four hundred years to the day, August 25th, 1619 the first African descendent slaves were brought to North American in Virginia by English colonists,” Tom Downs, Supervisory Park Ranger, National Park Service, said.
However, it was the Lowcountry that would later become a major port of arrival for bringing enslaved Africans into the United States.
“Nearly forty percent of all African Americans who entered the united states came through Charleston,” Downs said.
To recognize the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans, the National Park Service held a special program outside of the Fort Sumter National Monument in Liberty Square teaching others about the rich history of African Americans and their impact on the Lowcountry.
“This is just another opportunity to hold a conversation, have a facilitated dialogue, and allow our community members to interact with parks, historic sites like this, and the rangers, like myself, who work them,” Anthony Mazzucco, Park Ranger, National Park Service, said.
Churches across Downtown Charleston joined in on the commemoration by ringing their bells for four minutes— each minute recognizing one century of African American history and culture.
The town of Sullivan’s Island also participated in the nationwide bell ringing to honor 400 years of African American history.