The first person stolen from Africa arrived in the North America in 1619 – 12 years after Jamestown was founded and a year before Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

She was enslaved. Not an indentured servant, not an immigrant looking for a better life, she arrived against her will, in chains.

Historical records reflect that “twenty-odd” Africans arrived that year, but only one name remains. Stolen from Angola, they named her Angela.

In 2019, we recognize the 400th anniversary of black people in America.

More than half of those years were spent as slaves, until 1865, followed by another 100 years of failed reconstruction, prison labor, sharecropping, lynchings, KKK and night riders, terror, segregation, Jim Crow, poll taxes and more. Slavery by another name.

Then came the 1950s and ’60s, and hope for civil rights, equal education and equal opportunity in voting and employment. And 1968, with the Fair Housing Act.

But it’s also been 50 years since we lost Martin Luther King Jr. to terror in assassination, stopping the Poor People’s Campaign in its tracks.

In 2018, 50 years later, we look back over five decades of “the illusion of inclusion,” and we look ahead down a road toward zero wealth for black people in the United States.

“The illusion of inclusion” – that a few high-profile athletes, entertainers and celebrities are false indicators and measures of a post-racial, diverse country and economy. Rather, the illusion masks desperate poverty for the masses, such that millions will have zero wealth to call their own in a very few years.

The 2018 Angela Project Conference is only a couple of weeks away on Sept. 14-15 at St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

I hope you’ll come hear experts in wealth inequality, public education, historically black colleges, payday lending and more bring the state of the problems facing black America, pointing the way to solutions for the future. The conference schedule is available here.

Fifty years after 1968, we’ll honor Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has carried King’s torch for so long as light to the nation. We hope you can join us.

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