Weekend of events planned to commemorate 400 years of African American history

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This year marks 400 years since Africans were brought to America as slaves.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This year marks 400 years since Africans were brought to America as slaves. 

In 1619, a ship known as the White Lion arrived at the James River, Virginia, carrying dozens of kidnapped, enslaved Africans. This would be a moment that shaped America’s future.

The 20-something enslaved Africans onboard were taken from West Central Africa. They would be the first Africans to arrive in English America. 

Now, 400 years later, local community members are gathering to commemorate the history of that day.

“Back in 2017, House Bill 1242 was passed to generate funds for us to actually commemorate that 400-year anniversary. What happened was that, that money was not actually provided, however, we still followed through, and the community came together. We have a group of about 40 people within this organization that came together to create these events,” said Bryant Youngblood of Youngstown.

The weekend of August 9, there will be several events open to the public in Youngstown. Some of the events are free to attend. 

Bryant said this is to educate the public on the history of African Americans over the past 400 years.

“Empowering the community to continue on and continue doing more. Continue the development and continue making a name for ourselves throughout the city,” Youngblood said.

One of the events being held is the annual African American Male Wellness Walk at the Covelli Centre, which Reverend Lewis Macklin said was intentionally connected with the 400-year anniversary.

“We recognized that there was shared opportunities and experiences by joining resources to make this happen to the community,” Reverend Macklin said.

You can find the list of events below:

FRIDAY
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
– Youngstown Ohio Youth Entrepreneurs Business Fair, 20 Federal Plaza: Financial literacy workshop and competition for children ages 6 to 17 ($10 per student). To participate, call 330-719-0560.

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
– Festival opens, Federal Plaza East: Variety of vendors and display tents.

6 to 11 p.m.
– Party on the Plaza 2019, Federal Plaza East: Featuring DJ Luke Nasty.

SATURDAY
7 a.m.
– African-American Male Wellness Walk Initiative, Covelli Centre

12 p.m.
– Festival resumes, Federal Plaza East

1 p.m.
– History of Dance, Federal Plaza East

2 p.m.
– Taste of Soul Food, Tyler History Center: Food tasting and libations commemoration service ($25).

7 p.m.
– KGB – Motown, Federal Plaza East: Bands performing the works of the famous Detroit studio artists ($10).

SUNDAY
1 to 3 p.m.
– Gospel Brunch, Rhine Haus Bier Hall: Enjoy inspiring musical performances while you enjoy a satisfying brunch menu.

2 p.m.
– Taste of Soul Food, Tyler History Center: Food tasting and libations commemoration service ($25).

4 to 7 p.m.
– Jazz in the Park, Federal Plaza East

7 to 10 p.m.
– Gospel Gala, Federal Plaza East: Performances by Gospel Sensations and Carnell Davis ($10).

ALL WEEKEND
– Art and sports history display, Tyler History Museum
– African-American movie showcase, Tyler History Museum

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