When the earliest documented Africans arrived in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the American colonies, they were recorded as “20 and odd Negroes,” who disembarked from an English pirate ship flying a Dutch flag.
20 and Odd: The 400-Year Anniversary of 1619commemorates the arrival of these Africans who landed in Jamestown. The exhibition opens at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery on August 30, 2019 and will be on view through September 30, 2019. Through images, documents and other archival materials, and contemporary art, the exhibition explores this event and its historical implications from the 17ththrough the 21st centuries.
“The 20 and odd Africans signify the integral importance of Western Africa in the development and prosperity of the New World and, more specifically, the central role of Africans in transforming what would become the United States into a political, cultural and economic world power,” said Kalia Brooks Nelson, an adjunct professor in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department who curated the exhibition.
The works on display are from collections that are housed at Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library as well as collections and archives at the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress.