August 1, 2019, marked the month of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America 400 years ago. Journalism Professor Frank Harris III has created a website to commemorate the first Africans and their descendants in America. Harris writes on the site:
“When it occurred to me several years ago that 2019 would mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans brought to America, I began asking Americans how America should observe the 400th, if indeed it should be observed,
“Invariably, every person I spoke with was unaware of the 400th until I informed them, and when I did, they were awestruck.
“My mission became to utilize my role as a journalism professor, news columnist, filmmaker and public speaker to get the word out about the 400th, to encourage activities to observe it. In the process of doing so, I learned much more about slavery that makes this site relevant beyond 2019.
“This site is designed to commemorate and inform about the first enslaved Africans in America and their descendants. It was important to me that 2019 not pass without some acknowledgment of their presence, some recognition of their existence.”
The site includes a list of events to observe the 400th, as well as multimedia presentations and interviews about slavery and the 400th.
Harris’ 400th project has received considerable media attention:
“Slavery’s legacy: SCSU prof studies tragedy, racism today” by Ed Stannard, New Haven Register
“Remembering Those We’ve ‘Overlooked'” by Carmen Baskauf & Lucy Nalpathanchil, WNPR
“400 years ago, first slaves arrived in American colonies” by Ed Stannard, Litchfield County Times
“What the 400th means” by Frank Harris III, Hartford Courant