‘We’re still here’ Family of first Africans mark 400 years

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — A family that traces its bloodline to America’s first enslaved Africans says their ancestors endured unimaginable toil and hardship but they also helped forge the nation.

Wanda Tucker told a crowd Friday at the family’s cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, that “we’re still here.” She said her family started “building America” 400 years ago.

Tucker spoke at one of several events in Virginia this weekend that will mark the arrival of more than 30 enslaved Africans to a spot on the Chesapeake Bay in August 1619.

The men and women from what is now Angola arrived on two ships and were traded for food and supplies from English colonists. The landing is considered a pivotal moment in American history that set the stage for a race-based system of slavery.

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