Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center Presents 400 Years: Journey of the Diaspora 1619-2019

By Editorial Team on September 16, 2019

Sat, 21 September 2019 - Sat, 26 October 2019

Michael Platt Wave Ryder. Image Courtesy of the PGAAMCC


Opening Reception: Saturday, September 21 from 5pm to 8pm

On September 21, 2019, Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) located at 4519 Rhode Island Ave, North Brentwood Maryland, will host an exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the first Africans who arrived in Virginia in bondage due to the transatlantic slave trade and its colonizers.

‘400 Years: Journey of the Diaspora 1619-2019.’ will debut with an opening reception on Saturday, September 21st from 5-8pm, and conclude with an artist talk scheduled for Sunday, October 20th from 2-5pm. The exhibition will run from September 21st – October 26th 2019 and will include tours and programs.  ‘400 Years’ is our roots and our wings. We are working with amazing local curators Tim Davis and Alana Theard to honor the personhood and lived experience of Black people, then and now. Art heals and can be potentially restorative in the life of a community of people that has been mistreated and is now coming full circle to a place of pride and power.” Executive Director Monica O. Montgomery, states.

Curators Tim Davis and Alana Theard have organized an exhibition from artists of the African Diaspora, to create a visual journey into the spirit and soul of the descendants of African people who were snatched from the shores of their Motherland. This show brings together interdisciplinary and intergenerational artists to commemorate the 400 years since the enslavement of African people in the United States. “My hope is that this exhibition (400) 1619-2019, Journey of Diaspora will bring light to a dark time in history of an enslaved people. Through art we can bring more awareness and give voice to make a difference on the continued struggle for freedom.” Cocurator Tim Davis states.

In August 1619, the first 20 Africans were bought for rum and landed in Point Comfort  (Now Fort Monroe), Virginia. They were from the Kingdom of Ndongo, Angola. The 20 men and women were bound with ropes and chains.  They were forced aboard the ship “White Lion” and brought to this country as indentured slaves. That was the beginning of the slave tragedy, one of the darkest times in the history of America. Across three and a half centuries—from 1501 to 1867—more than 12.5 million Africans were captured, sold, and transported to the Americas; This historical touchstone is being explored and interrogated throughout journalism and among scholars, and sites of heritage. PGAAMCC proudly joins museums holding space for the national discourse around 1619.  Founder and co-curator, Alana Theard, says ”400 Years: Journey of the Diaspora gives us an opportunity to go on a visual journey documenting the experiences of the descendants of the enslaved and free African people from around the world.”

The exhibition will feature works of art by national and international artists including Frank Smith, Victor Ekpuk, Wesley Clark, Jay F. Coleman, Michael Platt, Roy Lewis, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Charles Jean Pierre, Preston Sampson, Anton Jones, Al Burts, Yodith Dammish, Jarvis Grant, Anne Bowie, Sheeba Maya, Ron Walton, Gail Shaw-Clemens, Terence Nicholson and Calvin Coleman.

Curators: Tim Davis founder and owner of International Visions Gallery & Consultants located in Washington DC and Alana Theard is the founder of the 400 Years of the Diaspora traveling exhibition and an emerging curator.

PGAAMCC is located at 4519 Rhode Island Avenue North Brentwood, MD.