We must never be grateful for the slave trade

Having carefully read Julian Hudson’s article in the April 21 issue of the Advocate, I agree with him in respect to his claim that religion plays an integral part in cultural excellence, especially with regard to literature, art, music, architecture and also the establishment of schools and universities (which he does not mention).

Having carefully read Julian Hudson’s article in the April 21 issue of the Advocate, I agree with him in respect to his claim that religion plays an integral part in cultural excellence, especially with regard to literature, art, music, architecture and also the establishment of schools and universities (which he does not mention). But I think he is somewhat flippant in respect to another serious issue.

He declares that, as a black person, he can be thankful for slavery in spite of the evil as it made it possible for his ancestors to come to Canada.

Slavery is an evil that can and ought to be described with horror!

The slave trade in Northern Africa was evil beyond reason.

More than three million slaves — men, women and children — were dragged out of their land, put on boats, chained on the lower decks, shoulder to shoulder for weeks with little or no food or water, and without ever seeing the light of day, until they disembarked.

The landed slaves were then sold and forced to work for plantation owners, many of whom were Europeans and Christians!

They were treated shamefully with whip and chain and poorly fed. It took years for this horror to penetrate the minds and hearts of the land and ship owners who were greatly enriched by the money that came to them, especially from tea.

It was only a threatened embargo on tea by hundreds of thousands of people in England and Scotland that finally brought some reason to their owners, but it didn’t happen overnight.

It took years to get the passage of a bill denouncing the Slave Trade in the English Parliament.

A memorial service was eventually held in a West Indies church with the ceremonial burial of chains, a whip and a neck lock. But it was not the end of slavery, then or even now.

The greatest tragedy is that the riches received by those who were slave plantation owners were Christians and their profits served their purpose of building wonderful huge homes, palaces, elaborate gardens and parks. And further, remember that the destruction in North Africa, the plundering and the deaths impeded the development of that region as it is today.

Yes, one can be thankful to be living in Canada — just as I am.

I suffered the consequences of the Great Depression that only pauperized families, but didn’t kill them.

The worst experience in Canada was the Great Drought with the result of many crop failures.

This was a great loss, but we lived through just in time for the Second World War. The many unemployed, who rode the rails, joined the armed forces!

Rev. T.L. Leadbeater

Red Deer

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