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Bell rings out in Newtown to commemorate first landing of enslaved Africans in North America

NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> A bell rang out in front of St. Mark AME Zion Church on North Congress Street Sunday afternoon echoing through the quiet borough neighborhood. It was a poignant moment for members of the church and community members who came out to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in North America at what is now part of the Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia. Standing on the steps of the church, Pastor Sandra Reed joined Mayor Charles Swartz, former Mayor Dennis O’Brien and five members of the church who were given the honor of ringing a bell as part of a nationwide bell ringing organized by the National Park Service to mark the occasion.


For four minutes – one minute for each century – longtime church members Dennise Veasley, Marcia Wright and Rose Knox along with the Baldwin Twins rang a bell to honor the first Africans who landed here in 1619.