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AfriGeneas World Research Forum

Recent visit Pope Benedict XVI Australia

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is carrying a tremendous burden by apologizing for the actions of priests and nuns that took place for years against unwilling children. The Pope recognizes that this is his high spiritual and Papal duty within the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.

The Church of Rome in the history of Africa and the Diaspora has played extreme roles. On one hand the Church joined with colonizers to exploit Africa and the Diaspora. During the same period priests mindful of their Christian responsibilities helped to organize funds and groups so that Africans would be able to buy themselves and their families from bondage. This was done in Brazil. The Catholic Church had a significant role in the abolition of slavery in Brazil and in some instances helped Africans to return to Africa.

I have spoken to an individual in London and several people in Seattle Washington who were victims of physical abuse. Those in Seattle are now elderly. Their conversations about the incidents that took place have always been discussed with me as if it were yesterday. Those in Seattle were Black children during the 30's when eugenics was prominent in government and educational agendas.
Black children were held down on benches by bigger boys and beaten with leather belts by the nuns. White girls at the school had their hair cut as punishment. Black children went to school in constant fear. If they did not go the authorities would be at their door to put parents in jail and the children in homes. In fact one of the children did go to a home for trying to run away from the school in question.The child was sent to the House of Good Shepard in Seattle Washington to confront further terror and abuse. From fear eventually the person left the State of Washington at about 20 years of age.

Has the Government of Washington State and the Catholic Church in Seattle reviewed the racial as well as the physical abuse Black Children had to confront during this period? It stayed with them for a life time. As a result of the abuse some black children began to stammer. Several children continued to do so even as adults.

It is an unresolved history that is an intimate part of the governance of Washington State.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Dr. I.M. Spence-Lewis


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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