400 years ago, on August 20, 1619, the first African slaves were brought and sold in North America at Jamestown, VA, 12 years after it was founded. The Africans sold that day were first taken from their homes by Portuguese colonial forces and sent towards “New Spain” to be sold. Their ship was attacked and they were then kidnapped by pirates who eventually sold them to the Jamestown residents. Although initially considered “indentured servants,” by 1662 the system of race based chattel slavery was enshrined into Virginia law.
Legal slavery continued in what would become the United States for another 250 years. During which time millions of Africans were taken from their homes. This amazing and challenging video demonstrates the massive nature of the trade and the number of ships and people involved. The scale of this human trafficking is immense and horrifying.
By 1860 almost 4 million slaves lived in the United States (13% of the population). https://www.history.com/…/first-african-slave-ship-arrives-…
Every institution in our nation, including predecessor Lutheran church bodies of the ELCA were impacted by and either actively or passively participated and benefited economically in this system of oppression. Recognizing this is part of why the ELCA Assembly approved the “Declaration to people of African Descent” at our recent Assembly in Milwaukee. https://download.elca.org/E…/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf
The stain of slavery upon the United States, “America’s Original Sin” as Jim Wallis has put it, continued in systems of legalized segregation even after the civil war. It continues to this day in race based hate and white supremacy. As a church we are called to be actively anti-racist to acknowledge the ways racism, both institutional and personal, continues to separate and provide unequal opportunity, and work for reconciliation and the breaking down of continued walls of separation. I urge all our NT-NL Synod, ELCA congregations to utilize this resource of the ELCA. #NTNL #InMissionTogether