National Bell Ringing

The Fredericksburg Area Museum (FAM) is organizing Fredericksburg’s participation in a nationwide bell ringing ceremony to honor the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies 400 years ago. On Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 3:00pm, Fredericksburg’s church bells, along with bells across the United States, will ring to commemorate the first enslaved Africans who landed in English colonies at Point Comfort, VA in 1619. The bells will ring for four minutes, one minute for every 100 years. This National bell ringing will enable the Fredericksburg community to participate in this historic moment.


The landing of the first enslaved Africans is one of the most significant events in American history. FAM’s Hen Asem program series has been commemorating this historic moment throughout the year. Derived from the fante/twi words of the Ghanaian language, Hen Asem means “Our Story.” FAM’s Hen Asem series aligns with the Congressional 400 Years of African American History Commission to develop and carry out activities throughout the United States to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, VA, in 1619. Virginia officially kicked-off the state commemoration in October 2018, and the FAM’s programming supports not only the state’s commemoration, but also the Nation’s. In addition, Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that 2019 is the “Year of Return” for descendants of all Africans captured and transported to the Americas as slaves. FAM’s programming aims to bring these international initiatives to the local level.


This pivotal program series is graciously sponsored by the City of Fredericksburg and American Evolution. Their support enables FAM to present quality cultural and educational programming to unify and better understand our diverse community and history.