CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC)- A Charleston church is making efforts to apologize for their role in slavery. This comes just months after mayor John Tecklenburg apologized on behalf of the city for Charleston’s leading role in slavery in South Carolina.
On Sunday, the First Baptist Church of Charleston dedicated a plaque in memory of the enslaved members of their church two centuries ago.
“We are putting a plaque up in honor of the slave members to say they are important to us, they should have been treated different, but the goal is to honor them now,” Pastor Marshall Blalock said. “They weren’t treated with respect years ago, we are honoring them now to show respect.”
During that time, slaves were only allowed to sit in the balcony of the church and go in the building through a side door apart from the other members.
For many, this is a step forward for the city, especially for Anthony Thompson. Thompson’s wife, Myra, was one of 9 parishioner killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015.
Thompson said he knows all too well that hatred still exists but he is proud of what happened tonight, and knows Myra would be too.
“Hate can always be conquered by love, love will always take over, blacks and whites coming together, being able to speak about what happened in the past,” Thompson said.
Thompson said Charleston may have started the slavery movement, but hopes this city will end the hate as well.
“There’s a lot of hope. Charleston will be the light on the hill, we will shine,” Thompson said.
The full inscription on the plaque says “In memory of the thousands of enslaved members of the First Baptist Church of Charleston whose names we do not know, but are written in the lambs book of life.”