Fourteen Federal Commission Members Appointed to Lead the Anniversary Commemoration in 2019
Date: November 2, 2018
WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the appointment of a 14-member commission to coordinate the commemoration of the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the English colonies in 1619.
The 400 Years of African-American History Commission, established by Congress on January 8, 2018, will plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities throughout the United States to recognize and highlight 400 years of African-American contributions. The bill had bipartisan support, and included sponsors from 23 States and the District of Columbia.
“I am honored to appoint this group to oversee such an important milestone in African-American history,” said Secretary Zinke. “As with President Trump’s recent designation creating Camp Nelson National Monument, as well as with the five historic sites designated into the African American Civil Rights Network this past year, this commission will help expand the understanding and appreciation of all facets of African-American history and culture.”
Commission members, many of whom are leaders in the African-American history community, are appointed by the Secretary to serve for the life of the commission, through July 1, 2020. The Secretary received recommendations from governors, members of congress, civil rights and historical organizations, and the Smithsonian Institution. Support for the commission will be provided by the National Park Service. The new commission members include:
“Fort Monroe plays a significant role as the site of the first arrival of enslaved Africans in English North America and later, a safe haven for freedom seekers during the American Civil War,” said Superintendent Brown. “During this anniversary we are honored to lead the conversation about the resilience and contributions of African Americans, including the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States.”
The commission is expected to begin meeting later this year and begin to encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations to come together to participate in anniversary activities.