Henry Louis Gates, Jr. attends ‘The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross’ New York Series Premiere at the Paris Theater on October 16, 2013 in New York City

*The history of blacks in the United States does not start in 1620 with the arrival of the first 20 Africans in Jamestown.

The first African to come to North America was not a slave, but a free black man born in 1480 in West Africa. His name was Juan Garrido.

“He traveled as a freeman to Portugal and Spain, and then he accompanied Ponce de León, remember him? We all studied about him in elementary school because he was in search for the fountain of youth. Well, guess what? He had a brother with him who was looking to stay young forever, just like the white man from Spain, said noted historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates, who tells the entire story and much more in the PBS series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

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