African American News and Genealogy

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Borough to say sorry for slavery

Published on 28/02/2006 THERE will be a formal apology for slavery, made on behalf of the people of Copeland, to mark the Wilberforce bi-centenary next year.The 2007 event will mark 200 years since the historic Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, introduced into parliament by William Wilberforce. The gesture has been prompted by the introduction of Copeland Council’s own equality and diversity policy which requires the authority to commit itself to certain actions to help promote this.Coun Geoff Blackwell, portfolio holder, told Tuesday’s Executive meeting that the port of Whitehaven had been used for slavery. “Now with our enlightened age we can say sorry to all those families and people who were involved, transported to other countries to act as slaves.’’Sugar was the driving force in the slave trade, as was the rum distilled from it. It was the need for labour to service this business that led Whitehaven to join with London, Bristol and Liverpool merchants in the triangular trade taking tools and fancy goods to bribe slave traders in West Africa. These traders supplied slaves to be shipped to the Caribbean. The same ships then loaded up with sugar and rum before returning to Britain. Full Story:

Gillespie Street — once home to city’s black professionals

By Chick Jacobs Staff writer The trees are gone — stout, long-armed oaks that seemed on summer days to embrace Gillespie Street and shield its homes from the fierce heat. Those homes, nearly all of them, are gone as well. Some felled in the name of progress, others taken by time and termites, alive only in the memories of those who saw them in their glory. Soon, those people will be gone as well — and they’ll take the memory of what once was the premiere home to the black professional class of Fayetteville with them. It’s Black History Month, and the story of this once-thriving black neighborhood along Gillespie Street is important because soon there may not be anybody left who remembers it. A quick drive down Gillespie, from Russell Street south, is a cruise through the gap-toothed grin of what becomes of a community lost. The few homes that remain standing loom like outposts between empty lots cluttered with the inevitable debris of a throwaway society. But a century earlier, Gillespie Street was the cradle of a thriving black community. The two-story, well kept homes and neighbor markets rested in summer shade. Instead of the disinterested hum of traffic, you might have heard the plunking of piano lessons and the impromptu preaching of a pastor rehearsing Sunday’s sermon. “I don’t even like going down there now,” said Ernestine W. Smith. Now 90 years old, she prefers to see her old neighborhood in the past. “It’s hit the skids. The community that was there is gone Full Story: