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First Africans Day commemorates enslaved people at Stratford Hall
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First Africans Day commemorates enslaved people at Stratford Hall

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Stratford Hall held its inaugural First Africans Day on Saturday to commemorate the enslaved Africans and African Americans who built the Westmoreland County plantation and sustained Virginia’s Lee family for generations.

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The daylong event honored those enslaved at Stratford Hall and their descendants. It featured music, storytelling, special tours and lectures.

Above: Camillya Lima–Peterson (left), Michael Peterson and their daughter Kennedy, 11, tie seashells and flowers to a wooden frame during the opening ceremony. The family, who traveled from their home in Brooklyn, N.Y., are descendants of enslaved people who worked the plantation. At the end of the day, the memorial was launched into the Potomac River as an offering to their ancestors. Above right: Cheyney McNight speaks during First Africans Day’s opening ceremony, which included traditional African folk music (bottom right) performed by Tanyah Dadze and Slam Stewart. Bottom left: People join in singing African folk music during the opening ceremony.

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