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Charleston, South Carolina, formally apologizes for slavery role

(WCIV, file)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - After hours of debate, the Charleston City Council voted Tuesday night to issue an apology for the city's role in the American slave trade.

The vote was 7-5 in favor.

Emotions ran high as the council voted to formally apologize for Charleston's role in slavery.

But it wasn't an easy vote and many council members expressed their concerns with the apology.

The Holy City has been labeled as one with a rich history.

"I think that it shows the world and the country — it gives us a barometer of where we are as a city," said Councilman William Gregorie.

Not all council members agreed.

Bill Moody was one of five who voted against the resolution.

"I said an apology without any kind of works to go with it is really an empty apology," he said.

The debate went on for hours.

Councilman Harry Griffin said there were other ways to make ancestors proud.

"What is going to make our ancestors more proud? A piece of paper that says we're sorry? Or fixing the flooding problem in areas of Huger Street that limit how great our city can be?"

In a packed room, mothers, fathers and children all spoke about why an apology is vital for this community.

The vote coincided with Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery, and came just two days after the third anniversary of a racist attack by a white man that killed nine black members of a Charleston church.

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