FROM AFRICA TO VIRGINIA
Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center
At Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, learn about the culture of the first known Africans in Virginia and the experience of people of African descent in colonial and Revolutionary America.
Copper alloy plaque, Kingdom of Benin, ca. 1600. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection. Gift of the Gladys and Franklin Clark Foundation.
The Jamestown Settlement galleries chronicle the nation’s 17th-century beginnings in Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures. The parent culture of Africans brought to Virginia in 1619 is portrayed in a diorama that includes a full-scale dwelling and artifacts from the Ambundu culture of Angola. A dramatic multimedia presentation describes African encounters with Europeans, the impact on African culture, and the development of the transatlantic slave trade.
Other exhibits tell about Virginia’s tobacco-cultivation economy and its relationship to the evolution of slavery in the colony. A structure re-created from an archaeological site depicts a late-17th-century slave quarter alongside a planter’s house and Indian cabin, also based on Virginia archaeological sites. Decorative objects of ivory and metal made by west central African craftspeople, and archaeologically found objects made or used by enslaved people in Virginia can be seen in the gallery exhibits.
YORKTOWN VICTORY CENTER
The Yorktown Victory Center’s Witnesses to Revolution Gallery profiles 10 individuals who lived during the Revolutionary period, including two African-Americans – Jehu Grant, who served as a
teamster in the Continental Army, and Boston King, who escaped from slavery to the British side. Documents on exhibit reflect antislavery sentiment in the American colonies prior to the Revolution. The antislavery movement continued to gain momentum after America won its independence, and a 1795 antislavery medallion also is exhibited in the museum galleries.
Antislavery medallion, circa 1795. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection.
“The Legacy of Yorktown: Virginia Beckons” tells the story of people who shaped Virginia society, from the Powhatan Indians to Europeans and Africans who began arriving in the 1600s. Among those featured in the exhibition are Anthony and Mary Johnson, who arrived in Virginia from Africa in the early 1620s as servants or slaves and became free persons by the 1640s, and Olaudah Equiano, a slave who purchased his freedom in the 1760s.
Educational Resources and Image Gallery
Jamestown Settlement Family Gallery Guide
|Print out this Family Gallery Guide
to enhance your visit.
Lesson Plan for Students
The People of Jamestown: The Africans
Image Gallery - West Central Africans
Jamestown Chronicles: Angela - The African
More about Angela
Discovering Jamestown: The West Central Africans
Government and Religion
Culture, Economy and Society
Practice of Slavery
Background Historical Essays
Cultures at Jamestown
The Angolan Connection and Slavery in Virginia
The Evolution of the Slave Quarter in Tidewater Virginia
Antislavery Sentiment in Pre-Revolutionary Virginia
Administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an agency of the Commonwealth of
Virginia that is accredited by the American Association of Museums.
©Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, P.O. Box 1607, Williamsburg,
Virginia 23187-1607 (757) 253-4838 or toll-free (888)593-4682; fax (757)253-5299