Knowing where you come from is so important. Leave us a message to help record black history

Mabinty Quarshie and Shannon Green

The search for family history can be complicated for many African Americans. Slavery's devastating legacy stripped family stories away from black Americans.

As the United States commemorates the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first Africans to Virginia, we're still grappling with slavery's impact. 

“Knowing where you come from is so important. Our journey to where we are today is not a straight line. It’s full of pain, and intrigue, and laughter, and it’s a mixed bag," says Terry E. Brown, superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. "What I thought we were, is not exactly where we came from."

USA TODAY is asking readers to share what they know about their family history with our journalists in 2019.

Want more? Sign up to help us continue the conversation around race in America

Sharing these stories is so important to record not just black history but American history. Leave a short message on the 1619 Voices Project at (202) 524-0992. And answer this question — What were some oral histories that were passed down in your family? USA TODAY editors will reach out to document your story.

This will be an ongoing project.

Explore more 1619 stories

The founding family you've never heard of: The black Tuckers of Hampton, Virginia

America's original sin: How an accidental encounter brought slavery to the United States

Slavery's explosive growth, in charts: How '20 and odd' became millions

Augmented reality: Experience the harrowing journey of the first enslaved Africans to land in America

Slavery in America: Behind USA TODAY’s 1619 series on black history

Black history 1619 project: Call our Google number, share your story

Follow Mabinty Quarshie on Twitter: @mabintyq. Follow Shannon Green on Twitter: @ShannonRaeGreen. Follow Claire Thornton on Twitter: @claire_thornto

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black history 1619 project: Call our Google number, share your story