…419 parks ring bells for four minutes***
…As Gov. AbdulRazaq regrets death of 17 Kwara indigenes going for Post-UTME***
Bells tolled Sunday at houses of worship, municipal buildings and national parks across the U.S. to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the U.S.
The bell ringing is part of a national initiative to get Americans to recognize the historical importance of the arrival of the Africans in Virginia, then a British colony, at the end of August 1619.
The Washington National Cathedral rang its largest funereal bell for one minute starting at 3 pm (1900 GMT) to mark the anniversary. Churches in Boston, Atlanta and other major cities were expected to join, as was the U.S. National Park Service.
The bells were rung to recognise the strength of the Africans in the face of injustice and dehumanization, Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, said in a statement.
Several events were held in Virginia over the weekend to mark the arrival of the enslaved Africans who came from a part of south-east coast of Africa that is now Angola.
That trade of the Africans for food at Point Comfort – now Fort Monroe, Virginia – is considered by many historians to be the beginning of slavery in the British colonies, a pivotal moment in American history that set the stage for the U.S. Civil War, segregation, lynchings, race riots and struggles with race relations that continue today.
The National Park Service encouraged all 419 parks in its system to ring bells for four minutes – one minute for each century since the slave trade began.
In the meantime, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara on Sunday lamented the death of 17 students in an auto crash on their way back to the state from Kano after their Post-UTME screening.
The 17 students lost their lives on August 22 at Bacita junction in Kwara, in an auto accident when their Toyota Haice bus with registration number AGL337 XA had head-on collision with a DAF Articulated Truck.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, described the incident as a painful one that could have been prevented, and commiserated with the parents and families of the students, praying to God to avert such calamity in future.
“We, however, believe that we can avoid this calamity in the future. We reiterate our calls on the drivers to always check their speed, respect other road users, and put their vehicles in the best condition.
“Most accidents occur because our drivers often fail these three basic tests of safe driving.
“Besides, we call on our tertiary institutions, which still require students to travel long distance for their post-UTME examination to please consider holding such test online to avert the necessity of travelling.
“This will not only reduce traveling and attendant risks, but also encourage students to embrace and excel in computer literacy, a sine qua non for success in the 21st century,” the governor was quoted as saying.