The City Council of Boston has apologized for the city’s role in slavery, the Boston Herald reports.
The title of the resolution was the “Resolution to Acknowledge, Condemn and Apologize for the Role Played by the City of Boston in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the Ongoing Detrimental Impacts Experienced by the Black People of Boston.”
The resolution was passed with all 12 members present voting in favor of the measure, “which is a non-binding expression of will from the body and not a law in itself.”
“When a harm is done, the first step is to acknowledge the harm and to apologize for the fact that this hasn’t been done, and yet it at the municipal level is stunning to me,” said City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who introduced the resolution with Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune and Kendra Lara.
"We definitely will not heal the wound if we don’t admit the knife is there,” Lara added. “Now is a good time to do so.”
With the resolution, the council “expresses its deepest and most sincere apology for the city’s connection and responsibility in the transatlantic slave trade, the death, misery, and deprivation that this practice caused” and pledges to remove “prominent anti-Black symbols in Boston,” and teach how slavery “impacted Boston’s past and present systems of oppression.” The council through the resolution also moves to create a “registry of truth and reconciliation so that Bostonians who wish to express regret for past injustices can express their remorse” and pass policies that “repair past and present harm done to Black Americans via systemic racism.”
In 1780, Massachusetts outlawed owning slaves with its constitution but it played a critical role as a busy port in the “triangle trade” of routes between America, the United Kingdom and African nations.
Although the issue of reparations has been raised, no official proposal has gone forth.