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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Central Valley | International | U.S. | Racial Justice
Slavery in California ~ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Slavery in California is remembered at the foot of J Street, Old Sacramento Embarcadero, Monday, March 25, 2013. In Sacramento, enslaved human beings "property" as legally defined in the US Constitution and later shared in the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision were auctioned. "Mining for Freedom" is the tip of a huge iceberg yet officially recognized or documented. It may be time for the California State Legislature to open the offical archives and join the United Nations, International Day of the Rememberance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Slavery in California, throughout today's 8th largest economic market, remains an open festering wound many simply cannot imagine or consider worthy of official recognition.
If we officially honor our US Colored Troops from California who fought and died during the US Civil War to end slavery throughout the nation this 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation, then we will be clear to document the salient ongoing challenges to clear documentation of Slavery in California.
An official UN santioned Cultural Resource Study would help gather primary source documentation from multidisciplinary international stakeholders to convene a Slavery in California formal study.
Earlier today, March 25, 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the International Day of Rememberance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, shared a vision and words to manifest, “we must never forget the torture, rape and killing of innocent men, women and children, the families that were separated, the lives that were uprooted, and the horrific conditions on slave ships, plantations and at slave markets. These degradations cannot be buried by time; they must be examined, understood and addressed.”
At the foot of J Street, along the Old Sacramento Embarcadero, two blocks from the California Supreme Court, enslaved Africans were auctioned. The California State Legislature provided a legal framework for the the “Peculiar Institution” to flourish in the Great State of California.
The International Day of Rememberance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade can open the conversation to Slavery and Victims throughout the Pacific Rim. The 2013 theme, “Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation," pays tribute to the emancipation of slaves in nations across the world. Here in the State of California, slavery is an unspoken theme in context of the California Story.
This year is particularly important with many key anniversaries, according to the UN, including: 220 years since France’s General Emancipation decree liberated all slaves in present-day Haiti; 180 years since the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 ended slavery in Canada, the British West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope; and 170 years ago, the Indian Slavery Act of 1843 was signed. Slavery was also abolished 165 years ago in France; 160 years ago in Argentina; 150 years ago in the Dutch colonies; and 125 years ago in Brazil.
Read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's partial statement below:
On the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, we tell the world to never forget this global crime against humanity.
The transatlantic slave trade raged for 400 years and claimed more than 15 million victims. Africans and people of African descent were victims of these brutal acts and continue to suffer the consequences.
We must never forget the torture, rape and killing of innocent men, women and children, the families that were separated, the lives that were uprooted, and the horrific conditions on slave ships, plantations and at slave markets. These degradations cannot be buried by time; they must be examined, understood and addressed.
As we reflect on the contemporary consequences of this tragedy, let us remember the bravery of those who risked everything for freedom and those who helped them on that perilous path. Their courage should inspire us as we struggle against contemporary forms of slavery, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
On this Day, let us pledge to honor and restore the dignity of affected people and to intensify efforts to eliminate the remnants of slavery that persist in our world.