Massachusetts legislation would estimate profit from slave trade

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BOSTON—Massachusetts, which boasts a history of abolitionism, is considering legislation to determine how much the state and local institutions profited from the African slave trade.

A bill before the legislature would require some of Massachusetts oldest banking, financial and insurance companies to look deep into their history -- and the histories of subsidiaries and predecessor companies -- to uncover links to the slave trade, as a condition of doing business with the state.

It also would authorize the secretary of state to produce a book documenting to what extent the state, since the times of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, benefited from slavery, whether through taxes or economic growth.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, said understanding that difficult history is key to any future discussion of apologies or reparation claims tied to slavery. He said most people underestimate the economic significance of slavery to the growth of the country and the state.
Read entire article at boston.com

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Elizabeth Cregan - 10/8/2009

In reading more on it.. the states are doing this to promote education on the subject. what I don't understand is 1. Why they have to spend money legislating it instead of just putting the information into the core curriculum and 2. what state wpends any time on teaching history anymore anyway? It is a subject you pretty much have to wsait till your are in college to actually really learn anything about. Their means to the ends is all screwed up

John D. Beatty - 10/7/2009

Some make me scratch my head. Why is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spending taxpayer dollars to do this? It will only cost the taxpayers more with no real gratification to anyone.

Why must these people act as if the whole world is someone's fault?

Elizabeth Cregan - 10/7/2009

I am wondering how far back you go with this? If it goes back before the revolution and our independence... does the responsibility of apologizing fall the the royal family of England who owned the colonies at the time? I understand the interest to history, but I do not think the legislation is necesary or really appropriate. What about the apologies to indentured servants? Some of the stories there would make your skin crawl.