Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

“The Hopefulness and Hopelessness of 1619”


The Atlantic explores the historical significance of 1619  in “The Hopefulness and Hopelessness of 1619: Marking the 400-year African American struggle to survive and to be free of racism” (  Here’s the lead for the article:

Her name was Angela, one of the first known Africans in British North America.

His name was John, the first known antiblack racist in colonial America.

In 1619, this black woman and white man—what they embody—arrived months apart in 12-year-old Virginia, the first of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. Angela was the original embodiment of enslavement, of survival, of the 400-year African American struggle to survive, to be free of racism. John was the original embodiment of elite white male power, of the democracy of racists, of its 400-year struggle to survive, to be free of anti-racism.

The article also begins with this image and in the image source information reflects upon the use of the image in the fight to abolish slavery in the 18th century.

The unattributed oil painting titled ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother’ that was used in the 18th century as a symbol during the fight to abolish slavery is displayed at the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull, Britain, July 4, 2019. The painting is based on an 1787 anti-slavery design produced by British potter Josiah Wedgwood. The widely available image was reproduced on a range of items, including plates, bowls, hat pins and snuff boxes. August 2019 marks 400 years since the slave trade to North America began. Picture taken July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Boyce NO ARCHIVES NO RESALES – RC1C349723C0

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