African American History Program and Bell Ringing

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).

Talk on the Archaeology at Belle Grove Enslaved Quarter Site

Matthew Greer, a PhD candidate at Syracuse University will conduct a free talk about his archaeological research in the area where the enslaved men, women, and children owned by the Hite family at Belle Grove lived and worked. Since 2015, Mr. Greer has conducted archaeology of the 1.5-acre site located across Belle Grove Road from the main visitor parking lot. He has confirmed it was inhabited between about 1800 and 1850, that it likely was the home of many of the enslaved at Belle Grove, and that the site included a livestock barn and farm equipment shed. To date, more than 44,000 artifacts have been recovered at this site. The artifacts provide information on how the homes were constructed, how they were situated on the landscape, and what daily life was like for the enslaved at Belle Grove.

This program will follow a free Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Ranger Program about Judah, one of the enslaved cooks at Belle Grove. Read more here: https://bellegrove.org/calendar/judah

Garden Fest

Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Assocation’s annual Garden Fest at Belle Grove will be Saturday, June 1, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. with free admission and free parking.

It will include:

MASTER GARDENER Plant Sale
Hands-On Workshops,
Garden and Specialty Vendors,
Children’s Activities,
Second Hand Rose Rummage Sale,
Birdhouse Contest
Garden Tool Sharpening,
Touring of the Historic Belle Grove Manor House 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ($5 for those 12 and older, 11 and younger free of charge)
Raffles, Food, And More . . .

More Information