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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 31, 2018 04:17 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: 500th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
In the very near future, I plan to introduce a resolution recognizing the 500th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The transatlantic slave trade began on August 18, 1518, when King Charles I of Spain issued a charter sanctioning the transportation of enslaved women, men and children directly from Africa to the Americas. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the transatlantic slave trade was responsible for the kidnapping and transportation of over 10 million African people.

The transatlantic slave trade ripped families apart and led to a lifetime of enduring trauma for enslaved persons and their children for generations. Not only was the transatlantic slave trade notorious for its brutality and dehumanizing conditions, it is also responsible for untold suffering that left a legacy of deep poverty, structural inequality, and systemic racism that persists in the United States and abroad.

While Pennsylvania was among the first colonies to abolish slavery, it and many influential Pennsylvanians, whole industries such as manufacturing, banking, finance, insurance, transportation and agriculture – and even some religious orders -- significantly benefited directly and indirectly from enslaved labor far beyond its borders for decades after it was outlawed statewide; and

The Pennsylvania Constitution declares that:

“all persons are born equally free and independent and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty,
of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing
their own happiness”.

We must remember those who were sold into slavery 500 years ago and for generations thereafter by honoring their faith, courage, resilience, collective ingenuity, and strength of character. Furthermore, we must never forget that it is our state government’s responsibility to protect the welfare and well-being of all citizens.

For all these reasons, I urge you to please join me in co-sponsoring this resolution. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as HR1082