Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, Concludes Commemorative Year Showcasing 400 Years Of Virginia History And Its Indelible Impact On America And The World


 This month, Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, concludes its 2019 Commemorative year, which established national and international awareness of Virginia’s vital role in the creation of the United States, and reinforced the Commonwealth’s leadership in education, tourism and economic development. Over the past 12 months American Evolution engaged with more than 350 Virginia institutions and national partners to convene more than 20 signature events, legacy projects, educational initiatives, performances, exhibitions and statewide community programs showcasing significant historical events that occurred 400 years ago in 1619 Virginia.

The 2019 Commemoration has generated tangible results and laid the foundation for a legacy that will last well-beyond the commemorative year. More than 2 Million individuals participated in 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution events, exhibitions and programs. A full economic impact study is currently underway and final results will be released in Q1 2020. With a focus on employing technology to reach new and younger audiences the 2019 Commemoration generated more than 36 Million social media impressions and secured more than 23 Billion traditional earned media impressions that fueled awareness among Virginia and national audiences. The Commemoration’s educational programming reached more than 14,000 Virginia students and educators.

More than $100 Million in combined economic impact is attributed to Commemoration and visitor spending since July 2016, and cumulative jobs supported by the Commemoration are projected to exceed 1,000. The 2019 Commemoration received a total of $23.3 million from state appropriations since fiscal year 2016 and leveraged public funding to secure an additional $4.3 million from more than 40 private donors to support the five-year commemoration cycle of planning, promotion and execution.

“It has truly been an honor to serve as the Executive Director of Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. I am so very proud, and appreciative, of our talented staff and dedicated team of advisors, sponsors, partners and volunteers who worked tirelessly to plan and execute a year-long commemoration of national and international significance,” said Kathy Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. “The entire Commonwealth of Virginia can be proud of the results the 2019 Commemoration achieved. Our 20+ signature events, legacy projects, education initiatives and statewide community programs brought 400 years of Virginia history to life with inclusive and authentic storytelling that catalyzed important conversations about democracy, diversity and opportunity, and facilitated the growth and development of partner institutions that will have a lasting legacy for years to come.”

If you missed the 2019 Commemorative year events, you can still engage in American Evolution legacy projects, which include:  the Virginia History TrailsVirginia Women’s MonumentPocahontas Reframed Storytellers Film FestivalDance Theater of Harlem’s PassageVirginia to America videos serieseducational resources and the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center.

The 2019 Commemoration showcased pivotal 1619 Virginia events that set America on a course towards the ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity. These 1619 Virginia events include the first representative legislative assembly, the arrival of the first Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia Colony.

For more information about American Evolution, visit: and check out the 2019 Commemoration blog for powerful insights and anecdotes from participants and partners discussing the lasting impact of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution.