House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. attends a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: AP)
Members of Congress are observing the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America.
The commemoration Tuesday at the Capitol comes at a time of renewed interest over the history of slavery and its aftermath on contemporary society. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it’s time to “tell the unvarnished truth.”
The Republican leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said “there’s more progress to make.”
The observance was held in Emancipation Hall, which is named for the contributions of enslaved laborers who helped build the Capitol.
It was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus and comes as questions about income inequality, reparations for slavery and others are spilling into politics in a way not seen since the Civil Rights era.