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Tolling bells for a grim 400th anniversary

To the editor:

In August 1619, the first slave ship to arrive in America landed at the present site of Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. The National Park Service is commissioning, and asking, churches and people from around the country to commemorate and remember that landing and the bringing of those first enslaved Africans to this country by ringing bells on Aug. 25 at 3 in the afternoon.

History tells us that these first 20 or so African men and women were stolen by English privateers from a Spanish slave ship and brought to Virginia on a ship called the White Lion. It is believed that these natives of West Africa traded for food and supplies and were the first Africans brought to English North America.

St. Luke’s Church will be ringing bells at that time. Please take the opportunity to pause and lament the 400 years of suffering and grief of slavery and racism in our land. May we dedicate ourselves to addressing systematic racism and the multi-generational impact enslavement and discrimination faced by all of our brothers and sisters of African decent.

Charles VanAnden

Senior warden

The Church of St. Luke the Beloved Physician

Saranac Lake

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