Remembering 400 years of African American history

People from multiple houses of worship come together for a day of healing. (Photo: WWAY / Kelsie Anderson)

WILMINGTON (WWAY) — Saint James Parish and other Wilmington houses of worship joined together to bring attention to the first arrival of enslaved Africans.

Bells tolled for four minutes at 3 p.m. and then prayer followed for those who had suffered from the tragedy as well as send a prayer for the future of our country and our world.

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Rabbi Julie Kazlow also attended the event and was happy to see people come together.

“What’s beautiful about this is we’re beginning to say just because it happened another day, it doesn’t mean it’ll go away,” Kazlow said. “And it takes work, love and commitment and the intention of bringing human beings together.”

Reverend Patricia Freeman also came to downtown Wilmington to commemorate the 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were brought to America.

“We’ve come to commemorate our forefathers for landing here on the coastline,and we’re here, not so much to forget but to remember and celebrate what life can be in a community of love and fellowship.” Freeman said.

Reverend Jody Greenwood spoke at the ceremony.

Greenwood believes that healing and reconciliation can only occur after there is full recognition of the country’s past.

“I think one of the most important things to realize though is that in order for there to be healing and reconciliation, there first has to be full acknowledgement and recognition, and I’m not sure we’re there yet in our country,” Greenwood said. “There are people who still don’t understand the true history and that it began 400 years ago with that African landing.”

People of all ages, races, and religions came together to learn in hopes of continuing to move forward.

Kazlow offered some advice on how to continue making progress.

“If everybody looks the same in your world, you need to make new friends,” Kazlow said. “The more you have friends that are every shade of color and every religion, the more we’ll be able to truly make love a palpable real entity in our world.”