DC delegate introduces bill to create memorial site for enslaved people at Georgetown waterfront

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a House bill Thursday that would create a memorial site in the District to honor enslaved Black people who disembarked at the Georgetown waterfront.

The memorial would aim to “honor the enslaved individuals’ presence, celebrate their contributions to history and recognize their resilience and fortitude,” according to a news release.

Norton said in her opening statement that the site would honor enslaved persons who were forced to migrate to the U.S. through the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

“We must not hide from this history,” she said. “The enslaved individuals, known and unknown, who disembarked at the Georgetown waterfront after forced migration, rest at the core of our nation’s shared history.”

Norton introduced her bill following the House’s passage of the bill that made Juneteenth a national holiday, which the Senate approved Tuesday and President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday.

“Juneteenth celebrates the culmination of the long struggle for freedom from bondage in the United States. This monumental event prompts us to reflect on the past and look to the future,” she said in the release. “This bill provides for the creation of a powerful marker of truth-telling and remembrance. Let us honor the personhood of these individuals, who were repeatedly assumed to have none, so that they will never be forgotten.”

The memorial site would be developed by the Georgetown African American Historic Landmark Project and Tour. 

Hannah Parker

Hannah Parker is a writer and editor for WTOP. She is most interested in covering social issues in the D.C. area and is always looking for news tips and story ideas.

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