Last year, Virginia commemorated the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans brought to English North America.

In 1619, about 20 Africans were brought against their will to Point Comfort, where Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia is located today.

As NewsChannel 34’s Kara Dixon shows us, an historical marker now stands there thanks largely to the efforts of one man.

If these shores could talk…the stories would be as endless as the drops in the ocean.

(Calvin Pearson-Founder of Project 1619) Looking at this marker reminds me of 25 years of struggle, 25 years of trying to tell the true story of Africans.

But for Hampton native Calvin Pearson, it all ties back to one moment in history.

(Calvin Pearson – Founder of Project 1619) Arrived right here at point comfort as Fort Monroe.

A late August day in 1619 when the first enslaved Africans – taken from Angola – were brought here.

(Calvin Pearson – Founder of Project 1619) Two of those first Africans were Isabella and Anthony. They became servants in the household of Captain William Tucker and in 1623 they gave birth to the first documented African child born in English occupied North America.

And four hundred years later on a similar August day their ancestors came together to remember.

“It’s not just about us. It’s American history,” says Peterson.

Verrandall Tucker and his family grew up hearing about their roots.

And for the 400th commemoration of that first landing in Virginia, they invited the public to honor with them.

“And we know without a doubt our ancestors are very proud of us because we’re standing on their shoulders. For all the years that we invested in putting this together. It was worth every bit of it,” says Peterson.

A story and a legacy four hundred years in the making remembering the painful past they say can help heal our country and move toward a better future.

“This has to go out to the world so they’ll see what took place today.”