Who was the first person of African descent – the first black person – to set foot in the Americas? In what capacity did that person come, and when?
If you have been in the United States or otherwise following American debates in the past few years, you might call to mind the 1619 Project, led by Nikole Hannah-Jones at the New York Times, which aims to tell an “alternate origin story” for the United States, focused on African-Americans. That story begins in 1619 with the arrival of African-descended slaves in the colony of Virginia. So you might think that the first black people in the Americas, or at least in the United States, were these slaves who arrived in 1619.
You would be wrong.Continue reading