This coming Tuesday, Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative will dedicate three new historic markers in Montgomery. The markers will appear in locations where the slave trade took place and serve to highlight the city’s role in slavery.
The group will also release a report that includes the fact that 435,000 slaves where held in the state before the Civil War. While the Equal Justice Initiative sees the dedication as a moment in history, the Alabama Historical Association refused to sponsor the slave trade markers despite noting the accuracy of the Initiative’s research.
To his credit, Montgomery’s mayor, Todd Strange, eventually approved of the project. Still, the subject makes him ‘uneasy’. One of his concerns was that slave traders are named on the markers. Their descendants may still live in the area.
The markers are just starting to receive attention. Until Tuesday, they hadn’t been publicized. Their dedication will be a high-profile moment. Cast members from the new movie “12 Years A Slave” are attending. The movie is creating unease and controversy around the nation, and around the world, due to the unrelenting suffering that it portrays.
Other southern states are also recognizing their role in the slave trade. Richmond, Va. recently created a “slave trail” that shows the locations of slave markets and a slave jail.
The city currently has 17 markers on the trail.
Thoughts on the “uneasiness” of the slave markers in Alabama? Are the concerns of officials valid?
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