Slave Trade: Church of England Apologises

Wed Feb 8,
The Church of England apologised for its historical role in the slave trade, accepting it was directly implicated in it(AFP/POOL/File)

Church of England apologises for slave trade

LONDON (AFP) - The Church of England apologised for its historical role in the slave trade, accepting it was directly implicated in it. At a meeting of the Church's synod in London it recognised "the damage done to those who are the heirs of those who were enslaved".

It voted to apologise during a debate on the "dehumanising and shameful" consequences of slavery, abolished in Britain in 1807.

The Church was implicated through its Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and the properties it owned overseas, notably in Barbados in the West Indies.

The Reverend Simon Bessant, from Blackburn in northern England, recalled how slaves owned by the Church had the word "society" branded on their chests.

He also recalled how when slaves were freed the only people to be compensated financially were their owners.

The bishop of Exeter in western England and three business partners received an enormous sum, for the times, in exchange for the emancipation of the 665 slaves of whose services they were suddenly deprived.

"We were at the heart of it, we were directly responsible for what happened," Bessant said.

"In the sense of inheriting our history we can say we owned slaves, we branded slaves, that is why I believe we must actually recognise our history and offer an apology."

We know what they can do with that apology but here's a quote from Malcolm X:

Malcolm X on reparations: "If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay...We were sold from plantation to plantation like you sell a horse, or a cow, or a chicken, or a bushel of wheat...All that what gives the present generation of American whites the ability to walk around the earth with their chest they have some kind of economic ingenuity. Your father isn't here to pay. My father isn't here to collect. But I'm here to collect and you're here to pay."
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X); November 23, 1964, Paris, France; [Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary,]