2019, the Year of the Return, has great significance for African as it represents 400 years since the first slave ships arrived on the Virginia shore.
Introduced by Virginia Democrat and State Representative Bobby Scott, House bill H.R. 1242 was passed into law in 2018 and was designed “to develop and carry out activities throughout the United States to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619.”
“The history of Virginia and our nation cannot be fully understood without recognizing the role played by the slave trade,” said Scott. “Slavery was an abhorrent institution; but for hundreds of years, it was the foundation of the colonial and early American agricultural system and was essential to its economic sustainability.”
Scott continued: “The 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act will be instrumental in recognizing and highlighting the resilience and contributions of African Americans since 1619. From slavery, to fighting in the Civil War, to working against the oppression of Jim Crow segregation, to the civil rights movement, the rich history of African Americans and their contributions to our Nation began hundreds of years ago but obviously does not end there.”
Now more than ever it is a time to reflect on the history of African Americans and our place in the history of building America. It is also a time to recognize Africa and its connection to where we are today as a people and as a nation.
I have been blessed to visit Ghana and have visited the infamous slave dungeons where our Ancestors passed through the door of no return into a world that would become their living hell. Standing there brought tears to my eyes and was a reminder of the strength and resilience of Black people.
While growing up in Norfolk Virginia, we were required to study Virginia History, but our studies were always with a light touch. School field trips to Jamestown and Williamsburg certainly provided some of the historical narrative, however those trips were always facilitated with a light touch too. I remember reading the stories of how we arrived on the shores of Virginia but even as young girl I wanted to learn more. It was told to us as if we arrived, we were here, and then we were freed. The beginning which included our culture, our history, were all but erased from history.
As an avid traveler, my mantra and the mantra of Travel to do Good is TRAVEL, LEARN, LIVE, GROW. It is through travel, that one can grow as a person and expand their view on life. Travel is for the curious, allowing you to explore further than any text book, Google search, or Youtube video can ever take you.
While it is always a good time to visit the continent of Africa, this year has even more significance. The Year of the Return invites us all to reconnect to the continent, to a place some once considered the Birthplace of Humanity. This is the year to experience the people, history, and culture of Africa and give back along the way.
During the Year of the Return, I hope you will join us as we unveil itineraries to countries in West Africa including Senegal, Ghana, Togo and Benin. We will also continue to offer our signature trips to South Africa and Tanzania. For more information visit www.traveltodogood.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Roslyn Parker is the founder, manager, and overall visionary behind Travel to do Good. A lifelong traveler, Roslyn now infuses her passion into inspiring others to discover the world and give back to it.