NPS - National Park Service

08/22/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/22/2019 16:13

Chatham Manor to Witness the Ringing of the Bells Marking the 1619 Landing of the First Enslaved Africans in English North American

News Release Date:
August 22, 2019

Contact: John Hennessy, 540-693-3200 X 4010

On Sunday afternoon, August 25, 2019, the bells in Fredericksburg and across the nation will toll for four minutes to mark the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first enslaved Africans on English North American in August 1619. The National Park Service invites the public to the terraces at historic Chatham, overlooking the Rappahannock River and Fredericksburg, to bear witness to this event - to join in a shared moment of remembrance and reflection.

The gathering at Chatham should allow visitors to hear the bells tolling in town, and do it on a landscape forged and sustained by enslaved people, overlooking a river that during the Civil War served as a threshold to freedom for more than 10,000 people escaping bondage. The beauty of the view and the nature of the landscape will, we hope, add meaning to the event.

At 2:30, NPS historians will lead a short program of remembrance and reflection, culminating with the tolling of the bells at 3 p.m.

We suggest visitors bring a lawn chair. The event is free.

Chatham is located at 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22405