To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first Africans in English-occupied North America (representing the beginning of 246 years of slavery in the United States), the National Park Service is inviting organizations and communities nation-wide to ring bells at 3:00 pm EDT on August 25, 2019, as part of a day of healing and reconciliation. Bells will be ringing throughout the Shenandoah Valley including a special program at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
In 2019 and 2020, the National Park Service is commemorating a significant moment in American history; the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America in August 1619 at Virginia’s Point Comfort, now part of For Monroe National Monument. This symbolic gesture will enable Americans from all walks of life to participate in this historic moment from wherever they are–to capture the spirit of healing and reconciliation while honoring the significance of 400 years of African American history and culture.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will commemorate this special moment in history with a special ranger program at 2:30 p.m. “Kneading in Silence: A Glimpse into the Life of Judah, the Enslaved Cook.” This will immediately be followed by the bell ringing ceremony at 3:00 p.m. Bells will be rung nation-wide for four minutes—one minute for each 100 years—to honor the first Africans who landed in 1619 at Point Comfort, Virginia and the hardship and contributions of African Americans over the last 400 years.
This event is free and open to the public. Visitors interested in participating are encouraged to bring their own bells.
Please join the nation in ringing bells precisely at 3:00 pm EDT for four minutes (each minute symbolic of 100 years).