Virginia’s Legislative Tradition and Arrival of the First Africans
Saturday, October 14, 8:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., McMurran Hall, CNU Campus

Christopher Newport’s Center for American Studies will sponsor a free, one-day workshop for Virginia teachers focused on two of the upcoming 2019 Commemoration themes

  • The American Tradition of Legislative Assemblies and
  • The Arrival of African Americans in North America and Their Contributions to the Nation

Teachers receive a certificate verifying six (6) hours of continuing education credit. Continental breakfast and lunch are provided.


8:30 - 9 a.m.

Registration – Continental Breakfast (provided), Teachers sign up for breakout sessions

9 a.m. Introductions
9:15 a.m.

Keynote – The Arrival That Framed the Face of America
Cassandra Newby-Alexander – Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Professor of History, and Director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies, Norfolk State University.
45 minute lecture / program followed by time for Q&A.

10:15 a.m.  Break
10:30 a.m. Breakout Session (Teachers attend one of the following.)

A Conversation With Thomas Jefferson - portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg’s Kurt Smith
Come prepared to discuss how 18th century ideas about and experiences with legislative assemblies shaped development of our American republic with Kurt Smith, who portrays Thomas Jefferson for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

11:30 Keynote – America’s Tradition of Representative Government 
Dr. William E. (Bill) White, Visiting Scholar, Christopher Newport University
An overview of British traditions, Jamestowne 1619, American colonial legislatures, Revolutionary government, Constitutional government, key issues in representative government today.
50 minute session with Q&A.


1 p.m. Breakout Session (Teachers attend one of the following.)

Document Analysis Activity – India Meissel, History Department of Lakeland High School in Suffolk, Virginia and President-Elect of the National Council for the Social Studies
Using primary sources in the classroom affords and opportunity for students to evaluate evidence and draw conclusions. This session, examines American reform and protest movements (temperance, abolitionism, women’s rights, anti-war, etc.). Using primary source materials teachers chart course of the movement from activism through legislation (and sometimes to repeal). In addition to presenting content, teachers develop lesson for implementing the approach in their classroom. Each group presents.

2 p.m.

The African American Experience – Valerie Gray Holmes
Commemorating the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 is an opportunity to celebrate 400 years of African American perseverance and contributions to America. Valerie Gray Holmes portrays these American stories and provides an insightful conversation about the challenges of teaching an inclusive American history. 50 minute session with Q&A.

3 p.m. 

2019 Commemoration Resources – Lindsey Horner
Summary and Closing session

3:30 p.m.