HAMPTON, Va. - Fort Monroe has been named a Site of Memory for its links to history of the transatlantic slave trade.
Gov. Northam made the announcement on Friday saying, “Fort Monroe is among the most significant historic sites connected to the institution of slavery, African American history, and the struggle for freedom.In order to tell the full and true history of our Commonwealth, the stories of the people and the events that took place here must be more present in our collective narrative. This UNESCO designation is a meaningful and appropriate recognition of Fort Monroe that will anchor its place in history and support our ongoing work to promote a true accounting of the Black experience in Virginia and in America.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Fort Monroe as a Site of Memory Associated with the UNESCO Slave Route project. Fort Monroe shares this distinction with more than 50 other sites and entities linked to the history of the transatlantic slave trade.
Northam's announcement said a historic marker will be placed on the grounds of the forthcoming African Landing Memorial at Fort Monroe.
In August of 1619, the first enslaved African people arrived in the English colonies in the Americas on a ship called the White Lion, landing at Point Comfort, the present site of Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. This set into motion the enslavement of both Africans and American Indians, and extended the Portuguese and Spanish Transatlantic Slave Trade to North America. Fort Monroe later became a refuge for those escaping enslavement, and was one of the first places enslaved people were granted freedom during the American Civil War.
The designation as a Site of Memory associated with UNESCO’s Slave Route project is the latest in the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to honor and promote the historical significance of Fort Monroe.