Tags: charleston | slavery | apology | reconciliation

Charleston Slavery Apology: City Makes Racial Reconciliation Effort

Charleston Slavery Apology: City Makes Racial Reconciliation Effort

"Slave sale, Charleston, South Carolina," wood engraving, by an unknown engraver, page taken from the Illustrated London News, 1856. Courtesy of the British Museum, London. (Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 June 2018 09:16 AM

Charleston, South Carolina, officials issued an official slavery apology Tuesday, decades after the city became the base where 40 percent of U.S. slaves first entered the country.

Council members gathered inside city hall to announce the apology Tuesday, which was Juneteenth — a day that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.

The bipartisan resolution was brought to the council by Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, who explained that "the vestiges of slavery still plague us today," CNN reported.

"Either way, up or down, it will show the world — it will give the world a barometer of where we stand as a city in the 21st century as it relates to racial reconciliation," he said.

The resolution, which is posted on the city's webiste, served to recognize, denounce and apologize on behalf of Charleston for its "role in regulating, supporting and fostering slavery and the resulting atrocities inflicted by the institution of slavery."

It also committed to "pursue initiatives that honor the contributions of those who were enslaved and that assist in ameliorating remaining vestiges of slavery."

Nearly half of enslaved Africans entered the U.S. from the port in Charleston, and nearly 80 percent of African Americans today can trace their ancestral roots to the city, the International African American Museum noted.

Racial tension bubbles beneath the surface of Charlston.

In 2015, a white gunman shook the town when he opened fire inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people.

The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, was later arrested at a traffic stop in North Carolina.

The proposal hopes to release that tension while promoting equality.

CNN noted that the document called upon the city to also memorialize African-Americans' graves and create an office of racial reconciliation.

Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott said for this reason the apology is worth backing.

"Regardless of where it came from, it sends a message," she told the news outlet.

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Officials in Charleston, South Carolina, issued a formal apology for slavery and a resolution to support racial reconciliation in the city where 40 percent of U.S. slaves first entered the country.
charleston, slavery, apology, reconciliation
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 09:16 AM
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