2019 marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of more than 20 Africans, from the Kongo and Ndongo Kingdoms in Angola, in Jamestown, Virginia. Upon their arrival, they were sold into bondage. The scars we still bear as a country from slavery, an institution that endured for centuries, are evident in countless facets of our society, including the significant health inequalities that persist throughout the United States.
During the 2019-20 school year, we embarked on a yearlong journey as a community to understand how threads of this history are woven in and through every aspect of our present. Guided by committees of faculty, staff, and students, we hosted a range of events with guest speakers, readings and discussion groups, activities with the local community, and other special events, including a highlight of our year, a day-long event on October 14, 2019. We were honored to have Harriet Washington, award-winning author of Medical Apartheid and ethicist, join us for both our October 14 launch and as our Commencement speaker to close out the year.
We invite you to listen to our recorded events or download our suggested readings to consider how to learn from our past to work towards the development of solutions, particularly those that impact health.
October 14 Commemoration
Remarks were made by Behike Atenua Gypsie RunningCloud, Principle Healer for the Community of Higuayagua, who provided a Native American Blessing, and Dr. Sherrill Wilson, author of New York City’s African Slave Owners: A Social and Material Culture History, who discussed the African Burial Grounds.
Special lectures addressed public health issues that impact our Washington Heights neighbors, New York City, and beyond.
Moderated by Sonal Jessel, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, WE ACT
Throughout the year, the School's lecture series, Grand Rounds on the Future of Public Health, the Chronic Disease Lectures series, and more, incorporated speakers around the 400 Years of Inequality theme. Learn more about the talks and speakers.
Suggested Readings and Multimedia
- Voices of a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
- 400 Years of Inequality Since Jamestown of 1619 by Thomas LaVeist, Mindy Fullilove, and Robert Fullilove.
- Readings: Chapter 1 & Chapter 16 of Racism: Science and Tools for the Public Health Professional and A Note from the Battlefield.
- Violence Against Trans Women of Color: Marsha P. Johnson and Beyond: David France's The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson from Netflix and/or Sasha Wortzel's and Tourmaline's Happy Birthday, Marsha! from Amazon Prime