Remembering The First 20: Embassy of Angola in DC Honors First Enslaved Africans to Arrive in U.S. 400 Years Ago and Their Direct Descendants at Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
- Angolan Ambassador to the U.S. to host a remembrance ceremony on Monday, Dec. 16 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art to mark the 400th anniversary of the first 20 enslaved people to arrive in the colony of Virgnia from Africa in 1619. The Tucker Family of Hampton, Va., who are direct descendants of the first 20, will be present at the ceremony.
It’s one of the deepest emotional scars of America’s history: the institution of slavery in a nation founded on principles of freedom—and 400 years later, many Americans are still grappling with how to heal from a troubling past while moving forward into the future.
In an effort to bring about cultural healing and remembrance as we come to the close of 2019 — a year that marks the 400th anniversary of the first Africans arriving to the colony of Virginia, the Embassy of the Republic of Angola is hosting REMEMBRANCE 20, a cultural ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on Monday, December 16, from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm.
The Tucker Family of Hampton, Va., who are direct descendants of the first enslaved Africans to reach American shores will be in attendance to take part in the event. Wanda Tucker, who recently made international headlines when her trip to Angola to trace her ancestral roots was documented by the national press, will travel from her home in Arizona to attend the event.
The goal is to honor the legacy of this brave group of more than 20 people who survived the treacherous journey and whose origins can be traced back to the Angolan Kingdom of Ndongo, say Embassy officials.
“We also want to extend our hands in friendship to all Americans, particularly those who are descendants of enslaved people from Africa. Angolans today feel a strong sense of connection to African Americans in the USA because we share a common ancestry. We want African Americans to know that we consider them to be our long-lost brothers and sisters in this country,” says Ambassador H.E. Joaquim do Espirito Santo.
The remembrance ceremony will feature remarks from Ambassador Santo and a distinguished line-up of internationally-known history and cultural experts, including Angola's Minister of Culture, the Minister of External Relations for the Republic of Angola, and the Director of the National Museum of Slavery in Belas, Angola.
Performances by the world-renowned social justice dance troupe Batoto Yetu (Swahili for "Our Children") will kick-off and commence the evening with memorable cultural moments that will include African dance, drumming and more. The dance company's outstanding accomplishments have included performances with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Harry Belafonte, Usher, Mya and on the stages of Sesame Street and the esteemed Apollo Theater.
Emmy-award winning journalist and children's book author Markette Sheppard, who recently traced her African ancestry through DNA on live TV, will serve as mistress of ceremonies and moderator of the evening.
Attendees for the Event Include:
The Tucker Family, Direct Descendants of the “The First 20”
Minister of External Relations H.E. Manuel Domingos Augusto
Minister of Culture H.E. Maria da Piedade de Jesus
Angola's Ambassador to the U.S. H.E. Joaquim do Espirito Santo
Director of the National Museum of Slavery Jacinto Vladimiro Teixeira Fortuna
Monday, December 16, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560
Additional details about the event can be found online at: Angola.org
This event is open to the press, who must RSVP in advance.
Attendance to the invite is by invite only. Requests can be made by contacting the Embassy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mario Antonio do Nascimento - (202) 893-5623
Esmeralda Mangueira - (202) 323-8998.
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