March 11, 2014
Tuesday was not just New Year's Day. It also marks the 200th anniversary of the United States banning the importation of slaves.
Congress approved an act that went into effect on January 1, 1808 that abolished the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
The act was a precursor to the elimination of slavery more than 50 years later. It also had wide-spread economic impacts.
"The people who were really and mostly Southern and northerners, they realized the value of maintaining slavery to build America, and that's where the contributions of the Africans is greatest and I don't think we celebrate their contributions enough," says Al Jenkins, Longs Chapel Preservation Society.
Jenkins adds that although there wasn't a big slave presence in the Valley, their impact was important to the success of agriculture in the area.