Charleston council considers slavery apology

Local News
SLAVERY CHAINS SHACKLES SLAVE_1529056273809.jpg.jpg

The Charleston city council is expected to consider a proposed apology for slavery on Tuesday.

As written, the document would recognize, denounce and apologize for the city’s role in regulating, supporting and fostering slavery.

According to the National Park Service, about 40-percent of African slaves arrived in the U.S. through Charleston.

Council member William Dudley Gregory has been working on the bipartisan proposal since August.

“The vestiges of slavery still plague us today,” Gregorie said during an interview with News 2.  “The modern day police force evolved from slavery – a force that kept the enslaved people in line”

The Charleston city council meets in a City Hall that was built by slaves.  The property is less than a mile from the site where slave ships were unloaded.  The waterfront property will soon be home to the International African American Museum. 

According to the Associated Press, council members are expected to pass the proposed apology.

“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,” Gregorie said.

Gregorie’s proposal drew sharp criticism from James Bessenger, chairman of the South Carolina Secessionist Party.

“The resolution proposed by Council Gregorie will not improve housing, education, or opportunity for Charleston’s black community, it will only serve as another ploy to try and garner votes while ignoring the plight of the voters,” Bessenger wrote in an open letter to city council members.

“I read Bessenger’s piece from the Secessionist Party,” Gregorie said.  “And where I think they are right is there are issues that still plague us today with respect to race relations.”

Tuesday’s city council meeting begins at 5 p.m.

Read the full text of the proposed slavery apology below.

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