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Boston preachers demand slavery reparations




BOSTON (CC) - A group of religious leaders based in the Boston area recently insisted that over $15 billion in reparations should be paid to the Black community there for damages caused by the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


The Boston People's Reparations Commission which made the demand said that the money should be paid by the City of Boston and "white churches" thereabout.


The reparations organization hosted an event including a press conference at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Roxbury to help publicize their demands.


"We call sincerely and with a heart filled with faith and Christian love for our white churches to join us and not be silent around this issue of racism and slavery and commit to reparations," said Rev. Kevin Peterson who founded the New Democracy Coalition.


Peterson has also been vocal about his desire to rename Faneuil Hall in Boston because its affluent financier and namesake, philanthropist Peter Faneuil was a leading colonial slave trafficker.


He appealed to the leaders of white churches in the city.


'We point to them in Christian love to publicly atone for the sins of slavery and we ask them to publicly commit to a process of reparations," Peterson said.


Some churches in Boston are extravagantly wealthy as he pointed out, hoping that they "will extend their great wealth, tens of millions of dollars among some of those churches, into the Black community."


Peterson called out the Catholic church, an organization that was prohibited in Puritan Massachusetts until 1780 when the state's constitution was passed. French Roman Catholics led the effort to establish the first Catholic community in Boston.


"They unfortunately assisted in sustaining institutionalized racism across the city," he said, not specifically mentioning French Catholics. 


"Not only are we looking at the period of slavery, we're looking at three centuries of institutionalized anti-Black racism and the Catholic Church is inclusive of the churches we want to engage."


The Daily Mail UK reported that Peterson also said 16 diverse clergy members had signed a letter and sent it to select churches asking them to provide reparations paid in cash or by building affordable housing or "financial and economic institutions in Black Boston."


The churches highlighted by the Reparations Commission were King's Chapel, Arlington Street Church, Trinity Church and Old South Church: congregations established in the 1600s and 1700s by clergy and parishioners who allegedly owned hundreds of slaves.


Rev. John Gibbons of Arlington Street Church claimed that churches were researching their archives while reviewing reparations but that more needed to be done.


"Somehow we need to move with some urgency toward action, and so part of what we're doing is to prod and encourage white churches to go beyond what they have done thus far," Gibbons said. 


Both King's Chapel in downtown Boston and Old South Church in Back Bay published reports detailing their histories of involvement in the slave trade.


The Chapel's chronicles discovered that some 220 slaves were owned by churchgoers including ministers during its hundreds of years of existence.


Old South's Rev. John Edgerton said his church is weighing its options with the intent of righting any wrongs.


"Old South is committed to learning the truth about our history and making repair. The God who loves justice demands nothing less," Edgerton told the Boston Globe.


A leader among Spiritual Baptists, Archbishop Leo Edward who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago blamed the U.S. for reneging on its promise to provide "40 acres and a mule" to slaves and former slaves.


He highlighted the irony.


“You promised 40 acres and a mule,” Edward said with his voice's volume increasing. "You know what is the acres? The prisons! And the mules (are) the prisoners."


The Rev. Morgan Allen, Trinity Church's rector said in a statement that his congregation and others have already started working on healing in Boston.


“We at Trinity Church look forward to receiving the letter from the Boston People’s Reparations Commission, and we welcome the important work of repair in our city, already underway at Trinity and in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.”


Edwin Sumpter, co-director of the Reparations Commission said the news conference was the first time in Boston's history that clergy from different houses of worship convened to show support for reparations.


Danielle Williams who directs the social justice organization Prophetic Resistance Boston revealed that her great-great-grandmother was enslaved in Africa and brought to North Carolina.


Williams used a unique metaphor leveraging Holy Thursday to explain why reparations should be granted immediately.


“Black people, the descendants of slavery have been washing the feet of our oppressors for well over 400 years,” she said. “Now it’s time for you to wash our feet. The descendants of slavery, we want our reparations. We want it now.”


Holy Thursday occurs during Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday and is the "Catholic commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion prior to his arrest and crucifixion," according to Catholic.org.


The tradition re-creates Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples.


This is an ongoing story and The Cristian Commander will continue to monitor the situation. Check back with us for breaking news, updates and exclusives.


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Reginald Spann is the Senior Writer, Senior Content Editor and Publisher of The Christian Commander. You may reach him through our Facebook, "X" and Truth Social platforms or through the partnership page at christiancommander.com

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wyoung1949
Apr 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Interesting and good article. We will see what happens next.

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