Reparations Still Unpaid: August 20, 1619

August 20th marks the four hundredth anniversary of an appalling event: the first ship containing kidnapped people from Africa landed in Virginia on August 20, 1619.  It marked the beginning of the slave trade in the British Colonies and USA.

Project 1619 tells the history of events and the beginnings of the slave trade.  Anthony Hazard (Professor of History at Santa Clara University) produced this short TED-Ed video on the slave trade and its origins.  A more detailed history of the slave trade written by Hazard can be found here.

Despite attempts to say otherwise, christianity was used as rationalization for imprisonment, enslavement and other crimes of the slave trade.

Michelle Obama was telling the truth when she said, “I live in a house built by slaves.”  They did build that.

“That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today,I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn.”

– Michelle Obama, July 25, 2016

Below the fold are two more items from The Root.


Breaking: Something Bad Is Happening in Virginia

by Michael Harriot

To commemorate the quadricentennial anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in America, we imagined what it would be like to cover that late August day when the first slave ship landed on the shores of the place now known as Hampton, Va.

8/20/1619 2:27 P.M.

Earlier: A few hours ago, The Root received several reports of a 160-ton Dutch privateer ship flying a British flag landing at Comfort Point. While the port is one of the Virginia colony’s busiest trading hubs, multiple sources indicate that the ship, the White Lion, was loaded with product that could possibly change the Colony and Dominion of Virginia as we know it.

Human beings.

How American Slavery Helped Create Modern-Day Policing

by Felice León

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in what we now know as Virginia. Their voyage was, no doubt, filled with unspeakable horror and death, and their presence would forever change the United States—especially when examining the way this country approaches policing.


Be clear: The slave patrol and slave catchers set the tone for policing in the United States as we know it.


“I think it’s important to remember that for black people, law enforcement [has] often been on the wrong side of history. They were enforcing slavery all those decades ago and then enforcing Jim Crow all those many decades ago,” Harris said. “People remember that. Grandparents tell stories. The photos are still there.”



  1. says

    America’s crazy love of firearms originates in slavery, as well. Why else did everyone need to be armed?
    3% of Americans own around 90% of the guns and are white men. “Home defense” remains an excuse for this. Defend one’s home against whom, exactly, now that the Indigenous Peoples have all been put away?