Charleston Apologizes for Forced Separation of Children From Parents

Last night the city of Charleston issued a formal apology for its role in the slave trade. Among its many horrors was the forced separation of innocent children from their parents at every stage of this process from the beginning of the Middle Passage to their sale at auction blocks across what became the United States of America. All of this was perfectly legal and sanctioned by the Church.

The resolution reads in part:

WHEREAS, the institution of slavery did not just involve physical confinement and mistreatment; it also sought to suppress, if not destroy, the cultural, religious and social values of Africans by stripping Africans of their ancestral names and customs, humiliating and brutalizing them through sexual exploitation, and selling African relatives apart from one another without regard to the connection of family, a human condition universal among all peoples of the world[.]

None of this happened in a vacuum. It was made possible, in part, by the dehumanization of a specific group of people, who were believed to be inferior to white people. The cries of children ripped away from their parents counted for nothing in a culture and society rooted in white supremacy.

Have we learned nothing?

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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26 comments… add one
  • Pat Young Jul 1, 2018 @ 13:45


  • Kellen Jun 22, 2018 @ 14:59

    My comments were directed at Msb, not you. And they were intendted to mirror and belittle his snark.

    • Msb Jun 27, 2018 @ 22:35

      But speech is free. And this is Kevin’s place, so his rules prevail.

  • andersonh1 Jun 22, 2018 @ 11:44

    Comparing the atrocities of slavery with what’s going on our border today is a lie, and I suspect you know that. Or at the very least, the modern day atrocities take place at the hands of drug cartels and coyotes, not at the hands of the United States.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 22, 2018 @ 12:07

      A “lie”? I think you mean to say that it is not a valid comparison.

    • Pat Young Jul 5, 2018 @ 15:03

      You know not of what you speak.

  • Matt McKeon Jun 22, 2018 @ 3:47

    I’ve taught it of course, but I never really understood it. Ordinary people and their capacity for viciousness. The slave trade, Jim Crow, Chinese Exclusion, the internment camps. But I get it now. People just have to be defined or labeled as “other” somehow, not like us, then anything is fine. When I worked with acting out patients in residential care, the staff used to say that fear and anger were the same thing, an angry client was scared. I guess that’s where we are now.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 22, 2018 @ 3:49

      Paul Krugman makes a number of good points on this issue.

    • Msb Jun 22, 2018 @ 9:36

      I think you’ve all three (including Paul Krugman) hit bingo. The very words “blood libel” are chilling.

  • Kellen Jun 21, 2018 @ 19:26

    Please write a 550 word essay on the difference between fraudulently characterizing facts and circumstances for political advantage, and honestly presenting all the fact. For example, the idea of breathlessly and hysterical describing the current events in absolute terms of “separating children from parents”!, is hopelessly dishonest, as opposed to honestly describing the parents as lawless miscreants who have deliberately put their children in harms’ way Your debating skills need work. Lots of work

    • Kevin Levin Jun 22, 2018 @ 1:59

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and for the advice. I will certainly re-evaluate parents taking the most desperate actions for the benefit of their children that you and I and most other people could not begin to fathom.

      • Mike Foy Sr. Jun 24, 2018 @ 14:03

        Well said

  • Matt McKeon Jun 21, 2018 @ 3:45

    msb read the declaration: it has all that stuff in it. Differing opinions don’t bother me, but laziness does.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2018 @ 6:39


    • Msb Jun 21, 2018 @ 9:08

      I asked.
      I am answered.
      That will do just fine.

    • Msb Jun 22, 2018 @ 9:34

      You’ll love this. Clicking on the link to read the apology, I found I can’t get at it because of the new EU privacy law (I’m in Europe). Off to see if Google is still my friend.

  • Msb Jun 20, 2018 @ 21:58

    Thanks for this news, Kevin. Did the Council apologize for using people as things to build their city and its economy, with the associated, economic, physical and sexual violence? Still, one should recognize what the Council did do.
    I can’t recommend the museum in the photo enough. Excellent use of the small space to inform and educate, and many good books in the shop.

  • Kellen Jun 20, 2018 @ 20:41

    I can’t wait for the essay after Boston apologizes for the forced separation of children which occurred as a result of slave-trafficking. And I’m pretty sure all of the children of Manson family members were all “forcibly
    separated” from their parents when they were all sent to prison. Forced separation of children from parents! Oh the humanity!

    • Kevin Levin Jun 21, 2018 @ 1:36

      Now that would be an interesting public apology.

    • Msb Jun 21, 2018 @ 9:06

      Please write a 500 word essay on the difference between imprisoning somebody convicted of murder (a felony) and somebody accused, not convicted, of crossing the border illegally (a misdemeanor, like misusing the image of Smokey the Bear). Your debating skills need work.

  • Kenneth Driver Jun 20, 2018 @ 7:39

    WOW !!! Is this political correctness garbage or what ? May God have mercy on these politicians for this crap !

    • Kevin Levin Jun 20, 2018 @ 8:25

      Whenever I read responses like this it just confirms that the decision was both right and necessary.

  • Matt McKeon Jun 20, 2018 @ 7:09

    Good for Charleston. Its a great city, great enough to face its past.

  • joe Jun 20, 2018 @ 6:17

    Yes, let’s put children in adult detention centers. Let’s pretend that there isn’t sex trafficking and abuse going on. Let’s continue to encourage unlimited immigration putting more children at risk.

    • Msb Jun 20, 2018 @ 21:53

      These two things do not follow. The alternative to stealing, abusing and jailing refugee children is not open borders. Nobody is arguing for open borders. Nearly everybody is objecting to the theft, abuse and kiddie concentration camps.
      If anything, Trump has just created over 2000 new Americans, if they aren’t trafficked (a big if). Trump stopped the family separation that he started, but HHS has told reporters that they have neither orders nor plans to reunite the traumatized little prisoners with their parents. If they did not make adequate records when stealing the children, how, for example, are they going to find out who are the parents of a 3-Month-old baby?

  • Jerry McKenzie Jun 20, 2018 @ 4:27

    Most have forgotten or willfully ignored this legacy. So no, learning has not occurred.

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