City Councilor Chuck Turner said a proposed bill to uncover slavery profits in Massachusetts was a “very important and appropriate” way to move beyond the past.
Sponsored by state Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston) and nine other legislators, House Bill 3239 would compel companies that do business with Massachusetts search their archives for “records of participation or investments in, or profits derived, from slavery.”
The bill also directs the secretary of state to publish a history of slavery in Massachusetts. There is no punishment built into the bill, but companies failing to complete the review could lose their contract.
The point of this bill is supposed to help us move on and forget the history of slavery, but think about it. Now a company that wants to do business with the state must first spend time digging through its history to see if it benifited from slavery. How many companies still exist that existed when slavery was still practiced during the 1860’s? Let’s think this through? Microsoft? Did Bill Gates get his money from slavery? Was IBM founded with money that was created through slavery? What if a company’s founders great-great-great grand father owned a plantation that had slaves? Does that mean the company has then profited from slavery?
How many companies have been around since 1860?