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Slavery museum should broaden perspective to this century
Slavery museum should broaden perspective to this century

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 1/21/2003

I support the development of a slavery museum in Fredericksburg. I only hope it does not limit its mission to North America, nor stop its lesson at emancipation in this country.

I urge the museum to address slavery in this century by going beyond the discussion of the Colonial "Triangle of Trade" between Europe, Africa, and the Americas and by opening our eyes to worldwide occurrences of forced or bonded labor, trafficking, and child and domestic slavery.

An estimated 27 million people are forced (through violence or the threat of violence) to work under the complete control of their employers.

Harvesting of natural resources, plantation farming, and manufacturing are just some areas where slavery exists in our "modern society." When you buy something at "rolled-back prices," please ask yourself:

What is the real cost of manufacturing, distributing, selling, and disposing of this product?

If I'm not paying the full cost, who is?

Is it an underpaid worker, my community, the environment, or all of the above?

In this context, building the slavery museum in Central Park provides an appropriate reminder of how our individual actions affect working and living conditions locally and across the globe.

There are many sources of information on slavery in today's world. One source is The New Internationalist magazine, with extensive resources online at newint.org.

Kathleen Harrigan