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Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

February 7, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers are trying to learn more about the first Africans who arrived in North America as slaves almost 400 years ago.

Historians have focused on a group of 20-some Africans they say were critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

Many are known today only by their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter. They were kidnapped from what is now Angola and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships before being sold into bondage in Virginia.

Their descendants also want to see their contributions recognized.

Calvin Pearson is head of Project 1619, which is named after the year the first Africans landed. He says the research is an effort to reclaim forgotten history.

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