Aug. 20, 1619

Painting of the arrival of the first Africans arriving in Virginia Sydney King Credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service

More than 20 Africans, kidnapped by Portuguese forces from what is now Angola, landed in Point Comfort (now Hampton Roads, Virginia) on a 160-ton English ship known as the White Lion. They were the first recorded Africans to arrive in England’s American colonies. They included Anthony and Isabela whose son, William, became the first African child born in English North America. By the time slavery ended, nearly 15 million Africans had landed in the Americas.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.