In honor of Juneteenth, Jamestown, Rhode Island is looking to make amends for the role it played in the slave trade. Not only has the town created a scholarship fund, but it will also fly the Juneteenth flag from June 19 to July 5.
The Jamestown Town Council approved a notion earlier this week to honor Betty Martin, whose family had been the slaves of Jamestown citizen Rebecca Carr Martin in the late 1700s. Betty Martin was sold for $43 and her 9-year-old son for $30.
As per the resolution:
Review, Discussion and/or Action, and/or Vote regarding A Resolution To Acknowledge a Wrong and to Honor Betty Martin and Her Family and all who suffered the brutalities and injustice of slavery in our community by flying the Juneteenth flag, from June 19th, the date now recognized as a federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, through July 5th, or the first day of business after July 4th, this year and all years; and establishment of a scholarship, endowed by the Town of Jamestown, known as the Betty Martin Family Scholarship, No. 2022-06
The Betty Martin Family Scholarship, aimed for high school seniors on a path to becoming “good citizens,” focused on the “content of their character as well as those involved with civics or community service.
Other states have made Juneteenth a paid federal holiday and California may become the first state to pay reparations for descendants of the slave trade in the United States. However, that could take years before any actual plan is comes to fruition.
It’s clear that this won’t come close to repair the harm that was done to the Martin family. Hopefully, this could be come a step in the right direction to educate Americans about the heinous history of the U.S.