In September, cities on the Atlantic seaboard between Boston and Charleston, South Carolina, will host a dramatic journey of truth telling and reconciliation. White Americans and Europeans will walk silently through the streets literally yoked together with the chains and coffles used to control the slaves traded at those ports 200 years ago. Organized by Lifeline Expedition USA, a Christian initiative based in England, and the U.S.-based Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, the organizers hope to bring an apology for the trans-Atlantic slave trade and for Christian responsibility in it.
"The involvement of those who dared to call themselves by the name Christian while involving themselves in the slave trade was a total contradiction of all Jesus Christ lived and died for," wrote Lifeline founder David Pott. "It is important for Christians today to face up to the issue of the slave trade and especially the misrepresentation of the gospel which was passed on to so many through it."
The Lifeline groups consist of Africans, slave descendents, and white Europeans and Americans. They intend to continue with journeys to the Caribbean in 2005 and West Africa in 2006, and then conclude in England in 2007 on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.