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A recent news article about the first Africans in America told of Antony, Isabella, Angelo

(a/k/a Angela), Frances, and Peter, kidnapped from the Ndongo region of Angola and

brought to the shores of what would later become America. They landed in Jamestown,

England’s first successful settlement in North America…but how successful? Before the

arrival of these kidnapped Africans, the people of Jamestown were starving. They didn’t

know how to grow anything—crops or livestock.

But the slaves came to their rescue. Catholic and educated, many spoke several

languages. And they knew how to farm. These captives taken from Angola, a

Portuguese colony of mostly Catholic Africans, quickly revitalized the Jamestown


They were among over 300 captured slaves bound for Mexico aboard the San Juan

Bautista, but the ship was attacked by two others, the White Lion and the Treasurer.

These two ships plundered the San Juan Bautista and seized around 60 slaves. Sold

into bondage in Virginia, some 20-odd slaves formed a core group described as critical

to the survival of Jamestown. They landed in 1619 near latter-day Hampton, Virginia.

An ambitious undertaking called Project 1619 (named after the year of the slaves’

arrival) is headed by Calvin Pearson, who says, “We need to reclaim our history. We

need to tell our story.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that for long, long years, Whites in Virginia (and indeed in many parts of

America) sought to suppress Black advancement, yet if it weren’t for those early Black

slaves, the Whites in the colony of Jamestown might not have survived at all!

For a book on a related subject, we recommend The Legend of Meecheli: The First

African American Princess, which tells the story of Ndongo slaves who escape…well,

no spoilers, so we won’t go any further, but buy it in our shop. Here’s a link.

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