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Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: October 21, 2005
Byline: Michael Coard, Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC), Philadelphia

Letter: Remember The Slaves That Built the USA

Robert M. Morris is justifiably a proud descendant of Robert Morris, one of the major financiers of the impressively successful colonial war effort in the 1776 American Revolution and is justifiably proud of George Washington, the "father of this country."

Unfortunately, though, his October 11 "Here Comes Slavery Mall" letter is as incomplete as are most history books that mention his ancestor and that mention Washington.

While it is true that Morris did provide much of the financial fuel that powered the revolution and is true that he was a key delegate to the 1775 Constitutional Convention, it also is true that, for nearly 40 years, he was a major slave merchant as a partner in the Philadelphia mercantile shipping firm Willing & Morris.

Although some persons contend that it was selfless patriotism that motivated Morris, others argue that it was selfish greed – initially stemming from his opposition to the 1765 Stamp Act, which directly cut into his personal profits as an importer of enslaved Africans (and other so-called "property") – that really motivated him.

And while it is true that Washington was a courageous and ingenious general and an inspiring and effective president, it also is true that he held 316 Africans and African descendants in brutal bondage as slaves at his Mount Vernon, Virginia plantation and that he transported several of them to be held in inhuman captivity right here in Philadelphia beginning in 1790 at America's first "White House" (previously known as the Robert Morris Mansion because he had leased his magnificent home to Washington), which is the current site of the Liberty Bell Center at Sixth and Market Streets.

As a result of that enslavement and enslavement throughout America, this country's executive branch, in particular, politically prospered and this country, in general, financially prospered. That is exactly why there must be a memorial to enslaved Africans and enslaved African descendants at that site.

 

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