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400 Years of Inequality: Changing the Narrative

The Changing the Narrative event took place on Saturday, October 12, 2019. 

Mission Statement

This community event aims to encourage an open discussion surrounding the impact of slavery on the United States. We hope that by publicly acknowledging 400 years of inequality, we can promote understanding and awareness while joining the community in reaffirming our commitment to a future of equality. 


In 1619, about 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Old Point Comfort in the English colony of Virginia. This momentous event acted as a catalyst for the system of slavery that riddled the United States. Since then, our country has fueled racial inequities that have plagued countless communities throughout history, many of which still exist today. Atrocities such as Jim Crow, the Trail of Tears, Japanese-American internment, women’s suffrage, Muslim bans, and family separation represent only a fraction of the hardship many have faced. 400 years later we join institutions around the country in honoring this anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in North America. We will reflect on the influence that oppression has had on communities around the United States but more importantly, we hope to continue the dialogue on moving forward.

In January of 2018, Congress established the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act establishing a commission to coordinate this 400th anniversary. The commission serves to develop programs and activities nationally that:
Recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans over 400 years;

  • acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States;
  • encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, and economic organizations to organize and take part in anniversary activities;
  • assist states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration; and
  • coordinate public scholarly research about the arrival of Africans and their contributions to the United States.

Learn more by reading "400 Years of Inequality Since Jamestown of 1619" in the American Journal of Public Health written by Dean Thomas A. Laveist, PhD, Mindy Fullilove, MD, MS, and Robert Fullilove, EdD. 


Check out the events that were a part of this day of observation and change.

Schedule of Events Speaker Series Details
Mass Incarceration Panel Per(Sister) Exhibit
Documentary Screening