During October and November, Chapel Hill will recognize a national anniversary with local events. Four hundred years ago, the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in America, an occurrence that continues to shape both national identity and local communities. Multiple campus and community partners will mark this anniversary with a museum exhibit at the library, an arts installation downtown, and a symposium on campus.
Chapel Hill Public Library will host the Hampton History Museum’s travelling exhibit, 1619: Arrival of the First Africans. This exhibit tells the story of the Africans' home in Angola, how they came to be enslaved aboard a Spanish slave ship, the terrible voyage that brought them to Virginia, and their lives on the plantations in the early Virginia colony. Sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, this six-panel “pop up” exhibit will be on display in the Library’s main level.
Cash Crop!, an installation by Durham artist Stephen Hayes, will be in downtown Chapel Hill at 109 East Franklin Street. Featuring fifteen life-sized sculptures of enslaved Africans, in shackles and chained to a shipping pallet, the art invites viewers to reflect on the humanity of enslaved Africans and the human-scale tragedy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Cash Crop! is made possible by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Arts Everywhere initiative, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, with support from the Stone Center, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and the Carolina Black Caucus.
These two community initiatives are presented in conjunction with a campus event, the Stone Center’s 1619 Collective Memory(ies) Symposium. This day-long event will bring together “conversants” from communities thrown together as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and European Colonialism, in both Africa and the Americas. Representatives from Native and Indigenous communities will offer their unique insights and reflections on the 400 years since enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort.
The partners organizing these events sought to offer multiple ways of engaging with this history and understanding how it continues to have an impact today. Kathryn Wagner, Associate Director of UNC Arts Everywhere, points out that Cash Crop! is particularly relevant, saying “The arts afford us opportunities to engage in important, and often difficult, conversations – and there is no more important topic on our campus and in our community right now than the lasting impact of slavery.” Anna Richards, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, says she hopes that area residents will engage with all three offerings, “Someone could start by learning from the travelling exhibit at the library, then go see the art exhibition, and then converse with others at the symposium – that would be a truly educational experience on this important topic.” The NAACP and Carolina Black Caucus will also host community conversations about 1619 and the legacy of slavery, in conjunction with both the Library exhibit and the art installation.
All of these programs and events are free and open to the public. To find out more about the exhibit at Chapel Hill Public Library, visit www.chapelhillpubliclibrary.org. To find out more about Cash Crop!, visit http://www.stephenhayescreations.com and www.chapelhillpopups.com. To find out more about the Collective Memory(ies) Symposium, visit www.stonecenter.unc.edu.
DETAILS ABOUT 1619 EXHIBITS AND EVENTS
1619: Arrival of the First Africans Travelling Exhibit
Chapel Hill Public Library
Friday, Oct. 18 – Monday, Nov. 18*
Six panel “pop up” exhibit that tells the story of 1619 and the Africans who were enslaved aboard a Spanish slave ship, their terrible journey, and their lives on the farms and plantations in Virginia. Sponsored by the Stone Center and on loan from the Hampton History Museum.
*The public is invited to an Opening Reception at Chapel Hill Public Library on Friday, Oct. 18, at 7:00 pm.
Cash Crop! Art Installation
109 East Franklin St., Downtown Chapel Hill
Sunday, Oct. 20 – Sunday, Nov. 17*
Thursday – Sunday, Noon – 7 pm**
By Durham artist Stephen Hayes, featuring fifteen sculptures of enslaved Africans, modelled on the artist’s friends and family. Made possible by UNC Arts Everywhere, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, with support from the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and the Carolina Black Caucus.
*Visit www.chaplehillpopups.com for artist talks, 2nd Friday reception, and other associated programs.
**Group tours may be possible, please contact Susan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
1619 Collective Memory(ies) Symposium
UNC Sonja Haynes Stone Center
Monday, November 11
8:30 am – 3:00 pm
This day-long event will bring together representatives of communities thrown together as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Two keynote speakers will offer their unique insights and reflections on 1619 and invite campus and community participants into conversation.