That constitutionally stipulated deadline of January 1, 1808, is, from our perspective, one of the most important dates in American history, signaling as it does the transformation of the United States slavery industry. For this reason, 1808 is also an essential date for understanding the making of African American culture. Kidnapped Africans had been arriving for almost two hundred years, repeatedly re-Africanizing American culture. No longer. The child was separated from the ancestors.