Members of Congress, guests gather to remember first enslaved Africans
On September 10, Congressional leadership, Members of Congress, and other distinguished guests gathered in the United States Capitol to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the First-Recorded Forced Arrival of Enslaved African People to the United States. The memorial event was hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus.
In 1619, about twenty African people arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in what marked the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade.
Slavery “led to many shameful moments by our government, including in this very chamber,” said U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader McCarthy (CA-23) at the event. “But the underlying values of the American project prevailed in the end. Slavery was denounced as an abhorrent chapter of our nation’s history.”
Speakers included Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass (CA-37), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), and Oscar-nominated actress Alfre Woodard, among others.
During her remarks, Speaker Pelosi reflected on her time in Ghana with other Representatives, where they visited a variety of historical sites associated with the transatlantic slave trade.
"How humbling it was to travel with the Congressional Black Caucus to Ghana, to see that history first-hand," she said. "Here in America, we rededicate ourselves as a nation, and as a people, to our ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union, with liberty and justice for all."