Finding Angelo: Honoring the First African Women in Virginia

Special Seminar at Jamestown Settlement

Muster of Inhabitants of Virginia, January 1624-1625. Courtesy of The National Archives of the UK, ref. CO1/3f136v.

August 10, 2019

Discover the story of Angelo, the first African woman mentioned by name in the historical record at Jamestown, during a daylong seminar on Saturday, August 10 at Jamestown Settlement. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., listen to the echo of Angelo’s legacy as speakers, panelists and performers explore the experience and impact of African women in early Jamestown and how their stories resonate today.

“Finding Angelo” begins with featured morning speakers Dr. Miranda Kaufmann, senior research fellow at the University of London and author of critically-acclaimed Black Tudors, and Dr. Jessica Krug, assistant professor of history at George Washington University specializing in the African Diaspora and author of Fugitive Modernities. The afternoon continues a living-history performance by Valarie Gray Holmes and presentations by Katherine Egner Gruber, special exhibition curator at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and Mark Summers, public historian for Preservation Virginia.

This special seminar culminates with a panel discussion featuring the day’s presenters and moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, executive producer and host of WHRV-FM’s Another View. Throughout the day, artist Austin Miles will create her interpretation of Angelo on canvas in view of attendees and informed by ongoing presentations.

Captured during warfare in the Angolan kingdom of Ndongo, Angelo (also referred to as “Angela”) arrived in 1619, just days after the arrival of Virginia’s first documented Africans, described as numbering “20. and odd.” Not much is known about her life in the colony, but her name is recorded in the 1625 “Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia,” on loan from The National Archives for the first time in 400 years and told as part of Jamestown Settlement’s special exhibition “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” – a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. “TENACITY” explores little-known, captivating personal stories of the real English, Powhatan and African women in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony using artifacts, images and primary sources, connecting issues of the 17th century and their relevance today.


Tickets to Attend

Registration and a separate ticket is required to attend this special daytime event. Choose from two ticket types, a $10 option that includes admission to all seminar lectures, programs and performances or a $20 option that also includes a box lunch — museum admission is not included. Tickets can be purchased online here, by calling 757-253-5110 or 757-253-5112 or stopping by Visitor Services at Jamestown Settlement.


August 10, 2019 • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

9:30 a.m. ○ Check-In/Coffee at the Group Arrivals Atrium, follow the signs at front of museum.

• ROBINS FOUNDATION THEATER •

10 a.m. ○ “Before Virginia: Free Africans in Tudor and Stuart England” morning lecture by Dr. Miranda Kaufmann, senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Dr. Kaufmann is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Black Tudors: The Untold Story, which was shortlisted for both the Wolfson History Prize and the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding in 2018.

11:10 a.m. ○ “Fugitives Politics, Gender and the World of Seventeenth-Century Angola” lecture by Dr. Jessica Krug, assistant professor of history at George Washington University. A historian of Black politics, imagination, gender and cultural practices, with a particular interest in West Central Africa and maroon societies and Black transnational cultural studies, Dr. Krug is the author of Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom, which is currently a finalist for the Harriet Tubman Book Prize.

12:10 p.m. ○ Lunch on your own or with pre-ordered box lunch.

1:15 p.m. ○ “What’s in a Name” afternoon presentation by Katherine Egner Gruber, special exhibition curator at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. One of the brains behind Jamestown Settlement’s “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” special exhibition, Gruber introduces the historical documents that bear Angelo’s name and explores what they tell us about her world.

1:30 p.m. ○ “Between Two Shores: The Heart of Angela” living-history performance by Valarie Gray Holmes, whose research informs a moving portrayal of “Angela” and her world.

 

2 p.m. ○ “American Heartbreak: American Memory and Racial Amnesia” presentation by Mark Summers, public historian for Preservation Virginia. Summers situates the commemoration of Jamestown within the civil rights struggle to acknowledge black history, revealing why “Angela’s” story is only now emerging, 400 years after she arrived at Jamestown.

3 p.m. ○ Break and opportunity to view “TENACITY” special exhibition.

3:45 p.m. ○ Panel discussion with the day’s presenters, moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, executive producer and host of WHRV-FM’s Another View. Book signings by Dr. Miranda Kaufmann, author of Black Tudors, and Dr. Jessica Krug, author of Fugitive Modernities, will follow the panel discussion, with both books available for purchase.

Throughout the Day ○ Interpretive portrait of Angelo created ‘real-time’ by artist Austin Miles, in view of attendees and informed by ongoing presentations. A graduate of VCUarts who was first introduced to murals in 2017 while collaborating on Richmond’s first mural created by and specifically for black girls, Austin’s work embodies her own stories and aims to contribute to the conversation surrounding black female experiences.


About Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg and features expansive exhibition galleries and films that connect visitors with the lives of the Powhatan, English and west central African cultures that converged at 17th-century Jamestown, and historical interpretation in outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and colonial fort. Jamestown Settlement is a stage for special exhibitions, events and programs in conjunction with the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, honoring the 400th anniversary of key historical events in Virginia in 1619. The “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” special exhibition, a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, explores captivating and little-known stories of Powhatan Indian, English and African women in 17th-century Virginia, and will be accompanied this year by more than a dozen public lectures, special events and performances.

Registration and a separate ticket is required to attend this special daytime event. Choose from two ticket types, a $10 option that includes admission to all “Finding Angelo” seminar lectures, programs and performances or a $20 option that also includes a box lunch — museum admission is not included. Tickets can be purchased online here, by calling 757-253-5110 or 757-253-5112 or stopping by Visitor Services at Jamestown Settlement.

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15), museum admission is $17.50 for adults, $8.25 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.