Image

9:09 AM / Tuesday May 11, 2021

11 Sep 2019

Congress marks 400th anniversary of slaves arriving in US

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
September 11, 2019 Category: Diaspora, Stateside Posted by:

By LISA MASCARO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Congress observed the 400th anniversary Tuesday of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America at a time of renewed interest over the history of slavery and its continued impact on contemporary society.

“We must tell the unvarnished truth,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the ceremony at the Capitol.

The commemoration was held in Emancipation Hall, which is named for the contributions of enslaved laborers who helped build the Capitol and, as Pelosi said, “gave the world this beacon of hope.”

The observance was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus as part of events this year marking the 400 years since the enslaved people were brought to America in August 1619.

Questions about income inequality, reparations for slavery and other issues from the nation’s history of enslaving people are spilling into politics and culture with a reckoning not seen since the Civil Rights era.

The Republican leader of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, said slavery in America led to “many shameful moments” in the country, including in Congress.

Image

“Our nation isn’t perfect and there’s more progress to make,” McCarthy said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not attend the ceremony but said as he opened the Senate that slavery was in many ways the country’s “original sin.”

McConnell’s own family history came under question earlier this year after it was revealed his ancestors reportedly owned slaves generations ago. On Tuesday, he said, while progress has been made, “change has come too slow.”

Pelosi called for passage of the Voting Rights Act, legislation that is part of a package of House Democratic priorities for Congress, ahead of the 2020 election.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Ca., the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called on colleagues to examine and embrace all parts of the nation’s history.

“We are so fortunate to live in this amazing country with our incredible history,” Bass said. “All of our history is what makes this country a great country,” she said, and encourages all Americans to contribute to the “fight to build a more perfect union.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Sports

Black Women in Sport Foundation, Coeur Sport, and USA Triathlon announce inaugural Women’s Power Up Triathlon grant winners

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email  What do you call women role models with bucket lists? Triathletes.  Black Women...

Oasis

Happy Mother’s Day to two great women

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email By Napoleon F. Kingcade Mother’s Day is a special day that gives honor...

Go With The-Flo

Meghan Markle has written her first children’s book called “The Bench”

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Meghan Markle (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock) By Florence Anthony Tongues...

Week In Review

Records: Ma’Khia Bryant’s sister sought help before shooting

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Mourners are seen wearing shirts with Ma’Khia Bryant’s picture as they...

Seniors

Senior safety campaign in response to rising senior fire deaths

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT U.S. Fire Administration data shows since January, more than 285 older adults...

Health

Why it’s never too early to make a long-term care plan

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email STATEPOINT Americans are living longer than ever before, and with continually rising health...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff