Better Late Than Never: Charleston, SC Apologizes For Role In Slave Trade

- By Bossip Staff

Charleston, South Carolina, United States, North America

Dennis K. Johnson/GettyImages

Charleston City Council Approves Resolution That Calls For City To Apologize For Slavery

After serving as the port that where some 40% of enslaved Africans arrived in North America, Charleston, SC is apologizing as a city for its role in the slave trade.

According to NY Times reports on Tuesday night the Charleston City Council approved a two-page resolution in City Hall (a structure built by slaves) recognizing that the city had flourished at the cost of those enslaved and apologized on behalf of the city for its role in the trade.

It also acknowledged wrongs committed against African-Americans by slavery and Jim Crow laws.

The resolution pledges city officials will work with businesses and organizations to strive for racial equality, and suggests the creation of an office of racial conciliation to help the process of racial healing.

The day before City Council convened members of the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative, a group formed to address social inequality in the city, published an op-ed in the Post and Courier of Charleston describing the resolution, how it came about and why they believed it was important that an apology be issued, it read in part:

Passing the Resolution to Recognize, Denounce and Apologize for the City of Charleston’s role in slavery on June 19th, the 153rd anniversary of the ending of slavery in the United States, creates an opportunity to begin the healing that can only come from the admission of wrongs. The Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative, convened by The Sophia Institute, seeks a just, sustainable and thriving community where all people are empowered to fulfill their human potential. After working together for over two years and seeking ways to turn talk into action, the SJRE Collaborative, composed of a seven-member leadership team, four honorary co-chairs, a 29-member council, more than 40 engagement partners and dozens of other collaborators totaling more than 100 community leaders and organizations have acknowledged that the community we seek cannot truly happen without community recognition of wrongs.

The Resolution to Recognize, Denounce and Apologize for the City’s Involvement with Slavery is not an apology by any individual. It’s an apology made on behalf of the city of Charleston for its role in regulating, supporting and fostering slavery and the resulting atrocities inflicted by the institution of slavery. It is a recognition that the prosperity and robust economy of this city began with a dependency upon the free labor, technical expertise and craftsmanship of those peoples who were enslaved.

The vote — which was met by celebratory cheers from many in the room, came on Juneteenth. Charleston joins another of other areas who have issued similar apologies, including Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Macon, Ga., and Annapolis, Md.

It’s probably also worth noting that most who opposed the resolution did so on the grounds they believed that the city should be offering MORE action oriented solutions.

This is definitely a good start.

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