NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In September 1860, John Jay II—grandson of the founding father and first US supreme court chief justice—introduced four resolutions condemning slavery and the slave trade (see link below) at the Episcopal Diocese of New York's annual convention in New York City.
Although the slave trade had been illegal in the state of New York since 1799 and the last enslaved persons had been freed in 1827, Jay's resolutions—so uncontroversial today—did not pass.
Instead, they were tabled, in the face of insuperable opposition from an overwhelming majority of the assembled Episcopalian clergy and laity, many of whom continued to have an interest in the slave trade, which in 1860 continued unabated in the port of New York in spite of its illegality and violation of the "teachings of the Church …and the laws of God."
Jay's resolution has remained "on the table" for the past 159 years.
At this year's Diocesan Convention, however, plans are in place to bring to the floor a resolution calling for the 1860 resolutions to be reconsidered and adopted, and for the clergy and people of the diocese to "give effect to [their] letter and spirit."
"As we continue our process of lamentations for slavery," explains the diocese's Reparations Committee, "this act is the right thing to do and will move us closer to … [executing] a formal apology for the sin of slavery."
A presentation on Nov 8 of a dramatic reading of excerpts from the verbatim report of the proceedings of the 1860 convention will provide those in attendance with background to the resolution. The resolution itself will be introduced by Ms. Diane B. Pollard, a member of the diocese's Reparations Committee.
For information on the Episcopal Diocese of New York, visit www.dioceseny.org.
Background video: https://vimeo.com/370103150.
Texts of the 1860 and 2019 resolutions:
Script of Staged Reading:
Original New York Times report of the 1860 convention:
SOURCE Episcopal Diocese of New York