South Carolina News

South Carolina city council OKs slavery apology resolution

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)/(CNN) - In Charleston, South Carolina, once a key slave trading port, the City Council has voted to apologize for slavery.

By voice vote, the Charleston City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution denouncing slavery, promising tolerance in the future and proposing an office of racial reconciliation.
  
The vote coincided with "Juneteenth," a celebration of the end of slavery, and came just two days after the third anniversary of a racist attack by a white man killed nine black members of a Charleston church.
  


In expressing support, Councilman William Dudley Gregorie compared slavery with the federal immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.
  
Councilmen Harry Joseph Griffin and Perry Waring expressed opposition to the resolution. Both said the city needs to focus on economic development.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) - 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.

 

Full documents found here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4523987-Resolution-Denouncing-Slavery.html#document/p1 


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