American Evolution™ Legacy Projects
American Evolution Legacy Projects are commemorative programs and events designed to create a lasting legacy that will live far beyond 2019. While many projects will leave behind a physical legacy such as a monument or exhibition, others are designed to inspire perpetual activity and scholarship.
“The Women of Jamestown” Special Exhibition
Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, Virginia
This year-long special exhibition will feature captivating and little-known personal stories that illustrate the roles women played in the founding years of the United States of America. Stories will be shared from the perspective of women from each of Virginia’s three founding cultures (Virginia Indian, English, and African).
Using objects, images, and primary sources, this story-driven exhibition will explore key themes in women’s history such as the sphere of influence within each culture, shared experiences, contributions to the early economy, education and keeping culture, innovators and outliers, rights in society, and exploitation.
“America in 1619: The Year Before the Pilgrims”
“America in 1619: The Year Before the Pilgrims” is a hour-long documentary being produced by Cinebar Productions, Inc. that explores the history and events of 1619 Virginia and how that year affected the growth and development of the United States.
Maryland Public Television has formally expressed interest in being the presenting station for national marketing and distribution of the program due to the strength of the concept and the established success of the production team.
Remembering Jamestown II: The Missiology of Jamestown 1619 and Its Implications
Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
In 2019, the Virginia Council of Churches and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University will convene a conference focusing on “The Missiology of Jamestown 1619 and Its Implications,” to explore long-standing assumptions related to Christian mission in colonial America. The conference and resulting publication will focus on religion in 1619 Jamestown, its impact on Native Americans and Africans, and the origins of a religious and culturally diverse 21st-century America.
“First Africans in Virginia: Impact and Legacy” Exhibition
Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA
Using documents discovered through the Virginia Historical Society’s Unknown No Longer project, as well as historical objects from the VHS and other museum collections, this exhibition will encourage viewers to connect their own historical and contemporary relationships with the history of race in America and the legacy of American slavery. Although the objects featured in the exhibition will be historical, the interpretation will be contemporary, featuring interviews and commentary by the descendants of enslaved African Americans as well as political and social leaders, actors, chefs, musicians, and historians. This exhibition will also be accompanied by a series of related programs including lectures, community conversations, and films that are part of the continuing Created Equal Film Series which will be in its fifth year.
Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center Dedication
August 24, 2019
Prominently located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Fort Monroe is far more than just a unique American landmark. Located less than two blocks from where the first Africans arrived in English North America in 1619, the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center will inform the public about the history of “Freedom’s Fortress” and the African-American experience in colonial Virginia. Exhibits and interpretation will also tell the tale of the enslaved people who escaped to Fort Monroe during the Civil War, where they were declared contraband of war and granted their emancipation.
Historic Jamestowne: Democracy & Diversity Special Exhibition and Archaeological Projects
Historic Jamestowne, Williamsburg, Virginia
In 2019, Virginia and the nation will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in the western hemisphere and the arrival of the first Africans in English North America. Both events are closely connected to the hallowed ground at Historic Jamestowne. The General Assembly was held in Jamestown’s church in the summer of 1619, and of the first two dozen Africans forcibly transported to Virginia, several lived and worked in Jamestown, on neighboring plantations, or passed through on their way up river.
The exhibition will focus on a number of issues of enduring significance: the establishment of representative government and rule of law, protections for private property, and sustained encounters among different peoples – Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans – who first came together at Jamestown.
In 2017-2018, archaeologists will lead excavations on a number of important Jamestown sites, including the location of the 1617 church that hosted the first meeting of the Virginia General Assembly. They will also investigate the home site of Captain William Pierce, where one of the first Africans to arrive in English North America, “Angela,” lived as a servant in the 1620s. Both excavations will be open and visible to the public. Related educational and exhibition materials in Historic Jamestowne’s Memorial Church will chronicle the archaeologists’ work and findings.
“Voices from the Garden” Women’s Monument
October 14, 2019
The Virginia Women’s Monument, Voices from the Garden, will set a standard as the first monument on state capitol grounds to recognize the full range of women’s achievements in America. The monument will feature 12 life-sized bronze sculptures of prominent Virginia women, a Wall of Honor inscribed with the names of other notable Virginia women, and a bench listing milestones in women’s history.
The 12 women chosen to be depicted as bronze statues in the Virginia Women’s Monument represent women from all corners of the Commonwealth, across a variety of ethnicities and time periods. They represent both widely-celebrated women as well as those with previously unknown, but equally important, stories. It is hoped that Voices from the Garden will inspire current and future generations of women to emulate and surpass the achievements of the past.
Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival
The Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival is an exciting endeavor that will recognize and honor the Native American community’s contributions to the cinematic arts. It will also serve as a way to celebrate diverse backgrounds, promote a greater understanding and knowledge of Native American history and culture, and increase visibility and education for Native American filmmakers.