NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> St. Mark AME Zion Church invites the community to join them as they commemorate 400 years of African American history on Sunday, August 25 with a remembrance and reflection service and by participating in a nationwide bell ringing.
The service begins at 2:30 p.m. with prayer, the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and other songs from the Civil Rights Movement. The service will be followed at 3 p.m. with the bell-ringing in front of the church at 136 North Congress Street, in Newtown Borough. The ceremony will end with prayer and the Freedom March song, “We Shall Overcome.”
The Rev. Sandra Reed, pastor of St. Mark AME Zion Church, invites the community to participate in the special commemoration entitled, “Lest We Forget."
"Please join us,” she said, “as your presence further exemplifies our community strength and solidarity in the friendships we have forged during the years. We encourage you to invite your family, friends, staff members, colleagues and associates.”
The local event is part of a nationwide observance being organized by the National Park Service to commemorate the first landing of enslaved Africans 400 years ago in English-occupied North America at Virginia’s Point Comfort, now part of Fort Monroe National Monument.
While Spanish explorers had previously brought enslaved people to what became the southern and southwestern United States, it was the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America that led to African American bondage in the United States. The 13th Amendment ended slavery in the U.S., but the pursuit of equality and civil rights for all endures.
Aug. 25th will be a day of remembrance, healing, and reconciliation throughout the country. National parks, including Fort Monroe National Monument, will host programs and participate in a nationwide bell ringing at 3 p.m. EDT. Everyone across the country is encouraged to come together in solidarity to ring bells simultaneously - and mark the occasion on social media with #RingToRemember or #400Years.
The Board of Bishops of the AME Zion Church (The Freedom Church) will join with the National Park Service and all 419 national parks, community partners and the public as they come together in solidarity to ring bells simultaneously across the nation for four minutes — one minute for each century — to honor the first Africans who landed in 1619.