Black history at senior services: First slaves arrived in America in 1619

Published 10:56 am Friday, February 19, 2021

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Senior Services is closed to in-person events, but that hasn’t stopped staff from providing activities for the county’s older adults.

Last week started with a meal pickup drive-thru. Anyone age 60 or older can pick up a box of five frozen meals each week as long as they have pre-registered and completed paperwork.  To learn more, visit

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, Senior Services hosted the first virtual Black History Month program –  pare one of the Annual Black History Month program co-sponsored by Senior Services and the Dorothy Graham family.

Alice Brown and John Quincy Steele provided the program. It can be viewed on Senior Services’ Facebook page @

Brown entered the room dressed in African attire, walking past a table filled with artifacts while singing “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.”

She told the story of her ancestors, stolen from their homes and taken to the African coast before boarding ships headed for America.

“We were packed like sardines, in our chains, unable to turn. It was so miserable that some decided they would not suffer any longer.”

The first slaves arrived in America in 1619 in Jamestowne, Va. History taught about Capt. William Smith, Pocahontas and others, but what about the 20 Negro slaves?

“It is one of the great paradoxes of our history that American freedom and American slavery both took root in Virginia,” Brown said.

Steele sang three songs, all Negro spirituals from the slavery days: “Nobody Knows (The Trouble I See),” “Steal Away” and “There Is a Balm in Gilead.”

Part Two of the program is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Senior Services.  Brown will join the group again as the featured speaker. The program will be broadcast over the parking lot radio system.

Senior Services held its first drive-thru Valentine’s Day party despite the drenching rain. The drive-thru decorations were made by Senior Services’ volunteer, Emily Miller. Originally, all of the décor was to be outside as the participants drove thru and the canopy saved the day. They were able to keep all decorations under the shelter for all of the participants to see.

Miller, the event coordinator, along with student interns, Betsy Gladstone from UNC-Greensboro and Adeja Madison from Winston-Salem State, welcomed the participants, wished them a Happy Valentine’s Day, and gave them a Valentine’s Day treat.

March activity calendars are available at Senior Services.