400 Years T-Shirt Symbolism Explained

Posted by Matthew Talford on

Good Day!

At the time that we originally launched the 400 Years Commemorative T-Shirt, which to-date has been our number one selling apparel item, we also briefly ran a contest: a guessing game to see who could point out the symbols in the artwork and explain them. 

After about a month of failed guesses and for other reasons, we decided it was time to go ahead and end the contest, and explain the symbolism in the artwork.  Well, here is a brief explanation (for a more detailed explanation, click on the video below).

1. The way that the word "400 Years" is displayed, is symbolic of broken shackles (the zeroes in the number represent the shackles, which are connected by a chain with a broken link).  The broken chain link in the 400 symbolizes the end of 400 years of physical/mental bondage.

2. The placement of the word "years" is representative of the area of the continent from which the people who arrived in 1619 were taken captive.

3. The Hebrew letters on the sleeve (company name written using Hebrew characters) represents the language spoken by a large number of those taken captive at the time of their capture.  The placement on the sleeve represents Northeast Africa.

4. The company name written in English on the right sleeve represents the language they learned and used after being forbidden to speak using their ancestral tongue.  The placement on the sleeve represents the direction of North America relative to where they were taken away from.


I hope the description answers any questions you may have had about the meaning of the artwork on the shirt.  The video below goes into more detail. 

Thank you for being a valued TalfordArts customer.  All the Best!