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Faneuil Hall fight: beating a dead horse

Melvin B. Miller
Faneuil Hall fight: beating a dead horse
“We won! Slavery has been against the law in Massachusetts since 1783.”

Boston is a city of winners. The people rally around successful sports teams and eschew losing projects. It seems that not everyone has read the memo on that Boston character trait. Unfortunately, a group of ministers is trying to generate public interest in a losing issue connected to slavery.

Their first blunder was to induce Boston’s City Council to pass a resolution on June 17, 2022, that apologized for Boston’s role in slavery. This was erroneous and was a public embarrassment. Boston was established in 1630 as the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, part of the British Empire that allowed slavery.

However, in 1776, Massachusetts residents declared their independence from England and joined with others to establish the United States of America. By 1783, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts had outlawed slavery in the Commonwealth. The first national census in 1790 found that there were no slaves living as residents of Boston.

Massachusetts became one of the first states to end slavery. This act should earn Boston residents applause rather than criticism. The hook the critics hang their adversity on is that the city named Faneuil Hall after Peter Faneuil, who died in 1743 and contributed the funds for its construction. He earned money in the slave trade, a common practice throughout the world at that time.

With some people there is just no winning!