Southern Connecticut State University held a weeklong event from October 21 - October 26, 2019 commemorating the 1619 event.
In late August 1619, a vessel arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia (now Hampton), with, among other passengers, “20 and odd Negros.” These were the first documented Africans to arrive in British colonies that would, in just over a century and a half, become the United States.
This was also the beginning of an almost 250-year engagement with chattel slavery, a 100-year engagement with legalized discrimination, and another 50 or so years of so-called colorblind literal and furtive violence at the hands of the state.
That day in 1619, 400 years ago last August, was also the beginning of a legacy spawned by forced migrants and their descendants who took their many dozens of cultures, traditions, and religious practices and formed something new under the most inconceivably difficult and suppressive circumstances.
The purpose of the commemorative events outlined below is to honor the strength, perseverance, ingenuity, and national and global contributions of the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States over the last four hundred years. Like many institutions across the nation, we have planned events to highlight important issues and themes in African American life and history.
We believe that Southern Connecticut State University, as the premiere public urban university in New Haven, rich with its own history seeped in African American life, is the perfect place to host these events. Southern’s own mission of “academic excellence, access, social justice, and service for the public good” is demonstrated in every aspect of our plans for the commemoration
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.
An award-winning journalist, who is currently the host of BET News, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Morehouse College.
Since his days as a youth in Philadelphia, Dr. Hill has been a social justice activist and organizer. He is a founding board member of My5th, a non-profit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. He is also a board member and organizer of the Philadelphia Student Union. Dr. Hill also works closely with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. Over the past few years, he has actively worked on campaigns to end the death penalty and to release numerous political prisoners.
Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 Most Influential Black Leaders.
Dr. Hill is the author or co-author of four books: the award-winning Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity; The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black life in America; the New York Times bestseller Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on The Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond; and Gentrifier. He has also published two edited books: Media, Learning, and Sites of Possibility; and Schooling Hip-Hop: New Directions in Hip-Hop Based Education.
Trained as an anthropologist of education, Dr. Hill holds a Ph.D. (with distinction) from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the intersections between culture, politics, and education in the United States and the Middle East.
The SCSU 1619 Commemoration Committee
Kyle Augustine, Graduate Student and Graduate Intern for University Access Programs
Dian Brown Albert, Coordinator of the Multicultural Center
Siobhan Carter-David, Department of History/Women’s and Gender Studies
Frank Harris, Department of Journalism
Tamera Henry, Caribbean Students Association
Sabrina Maldonado, Graduate Intern for the Multicultural Center
Kendall Manderville, NAACP Vice President
Doris Marino, Department of Exercise Science
Jason Smith, Department of History
Dawn Stanton, Director of University Access Programs
Jermaine Wright, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
- SCSU Office of the President
- SCSU Office of the Provost
- SCSU Multicultural Center
- The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
- Yale Center for British Art
- Coca Cola