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Many Rivers to Cross in Norfolk

WHRO in Norfolk, VA interviewed historians to further explore the Virginia history featured in the series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, including the arrival of Africans in 1619 and the beginning of the Contraband Movement during the Civil War.

The First Africans in Virginia


WHRO tells the story of Old Point Comfort in Hampton VA, the original landing site of the first Africans to an English Colony in North America in 1619. Two of the Africans remained at Old Point Comfort and became the servants of Captain William Tucker. Antonio and Isabella married and had a son they named William Tucker and who was the first African American child born in America.

Freedom’s Fortress: The Contraband Movement


WHRO tells the story of Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend, three runaway slaves who sought refuge at the Union Fort Monroe and were declared contraband of war by Major General Benjamin F. Butler. Their bravery paved the way for thousands of escaped slaves to converge on Hampton, VA and ultimately led to the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a film by Kunhardt McGee Productions, THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Inkwell Films, in assocation with Ark Media.