According to this AP story, legislation was introduced today in which Virginia will apologize for its role in slavery.
The joint resolution urges that Virginia “acknowledges and atones for its pivotal role in slavery” and work to reconcile “centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices.”
The effort comes amid preparations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement. [State Senator Henry] Marsh called it time for Virginia to again be first.
“It’s important because of the role Virginia played … that we also play a role in seeking reconciliation among the races,” he said.
Virginia played a tremendous role in the slave trade. Richmond was part of what is known as the Slavery Triangle. The other two cities were Benin, Africa and Liverpool, England. Under the cover of darkness, the slaves were moved along a trail, shackled together with the men in the back. I have walked that trail and it is an amazing experience.
After the importation of slaves was outlawed in the US, Virginia’s cash crop became slaves. The climate in Virginia was less conducive to the growing of cotton than in states further south, so Virginia bred and exported them.
Last December, Richmond broke ground on the construction of a monument at the site of the old slave jail. The monument to be erected is the last of the three in the triangle. It is to be revealed on March 30, in conjunction with other events surrounding the 400th anniversary of Jamestown.
If erecting a monument and issuing an apology moves racial reconciliation forward, I’m all for it.