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1619: 400 Years of History

This guide begins with the date in 1619 that brought a ship carrying enslaved Africans to Point Comfort, near present-day Jamestown, Virginia, and continues through 400 years of African American history.

Primary Sources

Library of Congress Collections


Newspaper article

Two Women, a Man, and Three Children

An advertisement announcing the estate sale of President Samuel Finley, held at the President's House on campus. The advertisement lists enslaved people along with household goods. July 31, 1766. From the Library of Congress.

Bill of Sale for Lydia, 1799

Bill of sale for an enslaved woman named Lydia to Professor John Maclean Sr.

From: Bill of Sale for Lydia, 1799; Letters; 1752-1807; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, Box 7, Folder 6; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

The Narrative of William W. Brown

Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788

Illustration showing deck plans and cross sections of British slave ship Brookes.