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Hundreds in Philly honor America’s first African slaves

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds attended a special ceremony at Independence Mall Sunday to commemorate the first documented African slaves brought to America 400 years ago.

 Jeffrey Hart says for him the day is about connecting the past and the present.

“We thank our ancestors for enduring the pain and suffering that 400 years, we are still here and we are still going strong,” he said.

Drew Thompson is one of 400 kids who dressed in white on the mall, to symbolize the 400th anniversary of those enslaved Africans coming to America.

He’s using the day to keep history alive.

“People will try and forget it, and sweep it under the proverbial rug like it didn’t happen, but it did happen, and we shouldn’t forget that, because even though people try and use it to put us down, it still makes us stronger in what we do, today,” he said.

Soheil Shabazz-Muhammad also took part in the ceremony.

He says this is his opportunity to stand up against a system he believes still has a long ways to go to give everyone the same freedoms.

“It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something for the community, and not only that it makes me feel like I’m standing up for something that I do believe in,” he added.

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