It has been 400 years since “20, odd Negroes” in chains arrived aboard the English ship “The White Lion” in Point Comfort, Virginia, in August 1619. A short time later, a second ship, “The Treasurer,” brought more Africans to be sold to the white Virginia settlers who had arrived in Jamestown a dozen years earlier.
Transporting Africans by ship across the Atlantic Ocean as slaves did not end until 1808, and scholars estimate about 455,000 Africans — including children — were brought to what became the United States. Besides being sold as property, the Africans were also stripped of their original names, languages, cultures and religions. Most slaves were forcibly converted to Christianity, their masters’ religion.