2019 Signature Events

These major public events, beginning in early 2019 and continuing throughout the year, will commemorate the historic events of 1619 and highlight their impact on the evolution of American democracy, diversity, and opportunity over the past 400 years.

Global Emerging Leaders Summit

March 6-13, 2019

Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, Virginia

The original settlers of Jamestown were by and large young pioneers who changed the world. The Commemoration plans to bring young political, governmental, and civic leaders from over 50 countries to the “Presidential Precinct” (the restored homes of U.S. Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, all near Charlottesville), Colonial Williamsburg, and the grounds of two leading American universities. During a week long event, the emerging leaders along with Virginia students from leading academic institutions, will reflect on the challenges of leadership, governance, and civic engagement in both 21st-century democracies and states aspiring to democracy.  The event will be held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia, as well as other organizations, such as the British Embassy in Washington, DC.

Innovation Nation @ Tom Tom Founders Festival

April 13-21, 2019

Charlottesville, Virginia

A series of new laws passed in 1619 allowed Virginia colonists to experiment with various industries and helped set the groundwork for America’s free enterprise system. The result was Virginia becoming America’s original start-up. To engage young people in the Commemoration, a year-long effort to identify leading entrepreneurs and innovators from across Virginia and the region will culminate in Innovation Nation at Tom Tom Founders Festival, creating a national platform to showcase Virginia’s entrepreneurial and innovative talent.  The commemoration will also recognize the most important start-ups during the 400-year American evolution, to commemorate our free enterprise system and its influence on the world.

Cultural Arts World Premiere

May-June 2019

Norfolk, Northern Virginia/DC, Western Virginia, Virginia

As the culmination of a three-year partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival, American Evolution will work with one of America’s leading dance troupes to design a commemorative performance honoring the history of Virginia and its impact on the nation since 1619. While this performance will not premiere until 2019, American Evolution will also sponsor a number of Virginia Arts Festival performances in 2017 and 2018.


International Forum on Representative Democracy

July 31-August 1, 2019

Richmond and Jamestown, Virginia

The first “General Assembly” composed of men from each of Virginia’s eleven major settlements met for the first time at Jamestown from July 30-August 4, 1619, planting the seed of democracy in America. American Evolution will bring together Heads of State and representatives from democracies around the world, including the British Parliament, members of U.S. Congress, and representatives from state legislatures nationwide. The International Forum will highlight the historic impact of democracy on our nation and its impact on the world. A series of “watch parties” will be launched through social media to engage young people worldwide, and a special ceremonial session of the first “General Assembly” will be held at Jamestown.

1619: Making of America Summit

September 27-28, 2019

Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia

This two-day cross cultural event will begin with an exploration of the contributions and influences of Virginia’s three founding cultures (Virginia Indian, English, and African). This expanding cultural tapestry of our nation will be explored by celebrated scholars, artists, film makers, musicians, and students from throughout the nation. Conversations and interactive panel discussions (in person and online) will cover a range of topics that are relevant to the cultural heritage and diversity of our nation 400 years after the cultural convergence of 1619.

Women’s Achieve Summit

October 15-16, 2019

Richmond, Virginia

The two-day summit will be a multi-faceted, interactive event to honor women 400 years ago, today, and in the future. The focus of each day will be unique; on the first day, Women’s Legacy in America and the second day, A Vision of the Future of Women in America. On both days, workshops will engage participants (attending and online) in conversations regarding the role of women in all aspects of society, business, and community, and the power of women’s involvement and sensibilities.

Virginia Thanksgiving Festival

November 3, 2019

Berkeley Plantation, Virginia

Upon their safe arrival at Berkeley Hundred on December 4, 1619, a group of English settlers held a ceremony of Thanksgiving which was to be observed annually and perpetually, marking the occurrence of the first official English Thanksgiving in North America. This Thanksgiving ceremony is reenacted every year at the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, which also features crafts and games for children, strolling re-enactors and entertainers, a schedule of programs around the grounds, food, and a vendor area with additional educational tables.

Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine Festival

November 8-10, 2019

Williamsburg, Virginia

This multi-day signature event will be staged on the grounds adjacent to Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg. Guests will experience a wide spectrum of cultural traditions including art, music and food. There will be opportunities to meet and engage with the artisans, and see and hear great performances from traditional and contemporary musicians.

The event will honor the early beginnings of America and the three cultures present in Virginia in 1619 (Virginia Indian, English, and African) and celebrate their contributions, as well as the contributions of immigrants from other cultures that have helped to shape our nation over 400 years. A fully interactive and immersive living-history and entertainment program will be offered.