This page will feature continually developing profiles of many AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ partner organizations and their ongoing awareness and educational programs related to the events of 1619. Check back regularly for updates.
Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Projects
Currently, excavation is ongoing along the north side of the site’s 1907 Memorial Church. The objective of the excavation is to gain new insight into the succession of three colonial churches that were constructed on the current site, including the site’s first church which was built in 1617 during the governorship of Captain Samuel Argall. The 1617 church became the site of the first legislative assembly in the New World in 1619. Planning is also underway to develop an exhibit in the interior of the 1907 Memorial Church that will feature information about the 1617 church and the events of 1619.
In collaboration with the National Park Service, Jamestown Rediscovery is also planning to investigate the home site of William Pierce, whose servant Angela was one of the first Africans to arrive in England’s North American colonies. Pierce’s home site is located on Jamestown Island and the location of the home is visible to visitors at Historic Jamestowne.
Library of Virginia’s “Virginia Untold: The African-American Narrative” Project
The Library of Virginia’s collections are rich with records documenting the lives of African Americans in Virginia. However, access to those materials dating from before the American Civil War is limited at best. These limitations are the result of period perspectives on the identities of enslaved and disenfranchised populations, as well as sheer volume. Due to this, the individual stories form a narrative of a people that has not been fully told.
The Library’s African American Narrative project aims to provide greater accessibility to pre-1865 African American history and genealogy found in the rich primary sources in its holdings. Traditional description, indexing, transcription, and digitization are major parts of this effort. However, and perhaps more importantly, this project seeks to encourage conversation and engagement around the records, providing opportunities for a more grassroots and diverse narrative of the history of Virginia’s African American people.
The Presidential Precinct is a Physical and Virtual destination for young leaders to learn how others have built successful civil institutions, to debate the issues surrounding successful nation building, and to collaborate with others facing similar challenges. It empowers leaders to learn from world history, find expert advice, exchange ideas, access professional development resources, and solve the most pressing challenges in their communities.
The Presidential Precinct unites six landmark institutions – four of America’s most important historic sites and two of the country’s most outstanding public universities.
- Monticello – the home of President Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence
- Highland – the home of President James Monroe, the progenitor of American foreign policy
- Montpelier – the home of President James Madison, the principal author of the U.S. Constitution
- Morven – purchased by Jefferson on behalf of William Short, America’s first career diplomat, and serving as a premier example of early American sustainable agriculture.
- The College of William & Mary – America’s second oldest university is called “the Alma Mater of a Nation” thanks to its deep ties to the founding fathers, including Jefferson and Monroe who studied the intellectual underpinnings of self-governance at this historic campus.
- The University of Virginia – Founded by Jefferson, with assistance from Madison and Monroe, to further his belief in the essential value of an educated electorate and to serve as a model for all the American public universities that followed.
Tom Tom Founders Festival
Tom Tom Founders Festival is a week of music, art, and innovation held in Charlottesville that converges hundreds of bands, start-ups, artists, and visionaries with the purpose of celebrating creative founding. It’s a real opportunity to launch ventures amidst ideas and parties in one of America’s most beautiful and historic small cities.
Each April over Thomas Jefferson’s birthday week (April 13), Charlottesville’s historic downtown is reimagined as a creative canvas, with dozens of venues participating. Like the founding polymath, Tom Tom explores diverse disciplines – society, education, energy, food, and technology — and links the rich history of the City with an exploration into the future. Ultimately, the festival seeks to leave lasting legacies of creativity throughout Charlottesville through public art and business formation.
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ African-American Historic Sites Database
The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is committed to enriching public understanding of the African-American experience in Virginia. The impact of African culture on the New World has been profound and the contributions of African Americans to Virginia has been equally significant. In 2000 VFH created the African-American Historic Sites Database to add long-neglected depth and nuance, or missing pieces of truth, to Virginia’s story and to explore the complexity of African-American history beyond the major themes of slavery and civil rights.
The database is an online, searchable resource for finding historic sites- birthplaces, schools, churches, cemeteries, battle sites, plantations, neighborhood and historic districts, businesses, and other places closely identified with the experience of African Americans in Virginia. Each entry was nominated, usually by someone in the site’s community, then examined by a scholar in the humanities.
If you would like to suggest a site or become involved in developing digital stories, reviewing content, or collecting regional history please contact VFH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Historical Society’s “Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names”
“Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names”
is the latest step by the Virginia Historical Society to increase access to its varied collections relating to Virginians of African descent. Since its founding in 1831, the VHS has collected unpublished manuscripts, a collection that now numbers more than 8 million processed items.
Within those documents are numerous accounts that collectively help tell the stories of African Americans who have lived in the state over the centuries. The database seeks to lift from the obscurity of unpublished historical records as much biographical detail as remains of the enslaved Virginians named in those documents. In some cases there may only be a name on a list; in others more details survive, including family relationships, occupations, and life dates.
Virginia Thanksgiving Festival
The Virginia Thanksgiving Festival is held annually the first Sunday in November. It commemorates the December 4, 1619 arrival at Berkeley Hundred of the good ship Margaret, under the command of Captain John Woodlief. Woodlief, with his group of 35 settlers, sailed from Bristol, England to land at Berkeley and celebrate the first official Thanksgiving in English North America. Experience a re-enactment of this historic event, as well as music, games, arts and crafts, children’s activities, and a Friendship Dance led by members of the Chickahominy Tribe. Catered food will be available, and vendors will showcase their food, arts, crafts, and jewelry.
Williamsburg Harvest Celebration
The Williamsburg Harvest Celebration (November 4-13) is at the center of the original, authentic, tangible and visual story of America’s necessity for farm/sea to table cuisine. As the most significant U.S. trend in fine dining sweeps the nation from New York to Seattle, the Williamsburg Harvest Celebration takes visitors and culinary enthusiasts on an authentic gastronomic journey that started more than 400 years ago.
In 1607, farm/sea to table was not a fad, but a means of survival nurtured by relationships formed between the Jamestown settlers and Native Americans. Today, the same land cultivated in 1607 yields culinary treasures turned into gastronomic art du cuisine at fine restaurants and establishments on the Virginia Peninsula. The Williamsburg Harvest Celebration honors the land used to shape our nation and the culinary lifestyle found in the kitchens of America.
The Williamsburg Harvest Celebration is a collaborative effort with the City of Williamsburg, James City Country, York County and Williamsburg Winery overseen by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, to invite people to connect, to the places where they gather, to themselves, and to others through sincere interactions, authentic roots in history, and exposure to new ideas.