Protest demands: Tell the story of slavery

PHILADELPHIA – On July 3, 500 people gathered at the site of the future Liberty Bell Pavilion here to demand that the National Park Service erect a memorial honoring the eight enslaved Africans owned by President George Washington and housed at that very spot.

A $12 million Liberty Bell Center is being constructed where Washington quartered slaves when he lived in the first executive mansion in Philadelphia, the first U.S. capital.

The rally was organized by the by the Avenging the Ancestors Coalition. The group and the National Park Service have discussed expanding the discussion of slavery at the Liberty Bell Pavilion and throughout Independence National Historic Park.

Protesters marched to the site to the sound of drums and wove yellow police tape through the crowd. “This is a crime scene,” said Philadelphia lawyer Michael Coard. “Slavery was a crime against humanity.”

Charles Blockson, curator of the Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University and noted historian, called for the real story of slavery to be told here because thousands of visitors come to the park from all over the world. State Rep. LeAnna Washington offered her support. The coalition will be meeting with the National Park Service to present its formal requests.

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