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

November 2018

Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, Virginia

This year-long special exhibition will feature captivating and little-known personal stories from three cultures – Virginia Indian, English, and West Central African – that illustrate the roles women played in the founding years of the United States of America.

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.

“1619: The Year That Made America”

January 2019

Nationwide distribution

“1619: The Year That Made America” is an 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. Following its broadcast, the program will be available for distribution to educational and other interested agencies by 2019 Commemoration, Inc.

“After 1619: The Legacy of Africans in America ” Exhibition

July 2019 – January 2020

Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA

As a part of the 2019 Commemoration, the Virginia Historical Society will develop a special gallery exhibition and planned traveling exhibit that will be available to venues across Virginia as well as nationally. The adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 ended 246 years of race-based slavery in America. It won’t be until the year 2112 that we will be able to claim that the once British colonies that formed the United States have existed longer without slavery than with it. Visitors will be encouraged to consider how the existence of race-based slavery that began on the shores of Virginia in 1619 is critical to understanding the social, political, and physical landscape of the nation in which we live today. Using documents discovered through the VHS’s Unknown No Longer project and historical objects from the VHS and other museum collections this exhibition will encourage viewers to connect their own historical and contemporary relationships with race and the legacy of American slavery. Although the objects will be historical, the interpretation will be contemporary and featuring interviews and commentary by the descendants of enslaved African Americans as well as slaveholders, political and social leaders, chefs, musicians, and historians. This exhibition will be accompanied by a series of related programs, including lectures, community conversations, and film.

The Evolution of the Faith of Americans, 1619-2019

March 20-22, 2019

Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia

The Virginia Council of Churches, and the 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. 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. What ideologies and religious beliefs motivated the Jamestown explorers? How did certain theologies of the role of mission and the church provide support and legitimacy for conversion and exploitation?

Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center Dedication

August 24, 2019

Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America, the 2019 Commemoration will showcase a dedication ceremony hosted by the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) and the National Park Service (NPS). This project involves the renovation of the former Coast Artillery School Library at Fort Monroe and the addition of two wings to the facility. In the galleries of the new Visitor and Education Center, guests will hear the stories of Captain John Smith, the arrival of the first enslaved Africans, and the culmination of 242 years of slavery as the first “contraband” African-Americans came to Fort Monroe to receive their emancipation.

Historic Jamestown Island: Democracy & Diversity

April-September, 2019

Jamestown, Virginia

Jamestown Rediscovery and the National Park Service will focus on 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. Projects will include:

  • Public archaeology featuring excavations open to the public in and immediately around the Memorial Church at Historic Jamestowne. The excavations will investigate the remains of the original church built in Jamestown in 1617, where the first General Assembly was held.
  • New educational and exhibition materials in the Memorial Church will illustrate archaeologist’s work at the site of the original 1617 church and explore the significance of the first General Assembly in 1619, contact with the Powhatan Indians, and the arrival of the first Africans to English North America.
  • Participation in programs where one of the first documented Africans in Virginia, “Angela,” lived in the mid-1620s. It is the only known accessible site that can be directly associated with the documented occupation of one of the first Africans to arrive in English America.

“Voices from the Garden” Women’s Monument Dedication

October 14, 2019

Richmond, Virginia

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

November 2019

Richmond, Virginia

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.