An apology given to a Glade Hill family is helping to heal the wounds left behind by slavery.
William Holland lives in Atlanta, but grew up in Franklin County. In a quest to learn about his ancestors, the truth about their journey was one marked by slavery.
At a table for the first time, the Holland family sits and reads a letter of apology from the town Bakou in Cameroon, Africa. The letter was signed by the town leader and acknowledges the role the African town played in the slave trade.
“It's a document that's been burning from the inside for quite a while,” said Holland. “It was time to find out who’s responsible.”
Holland has lots of information about his ancestors, including a DNA test linking his family to Cameroon. He also has a copy of the receipt of a relative sold into slavery.
An original clipping from The Virginian newspaper in 1823 listed the harsh reality slaves faced. One of the captions read, "Negroes for Sale."
“The weight has been taken off your shoulders because a lot of burden was placed on you to do something,” said Holland. He recalled the time of watching his father cry while telling stories of what happened in the twenty and thirties.
African nations have released apology letters in the past for their contribution to slavery, but Holland says this is the first time one has been issued to a particular family. With evidence in tow linking his family to Cameroon, he said the town leader had no issue signing the letter.
With the abolishment of slavery here in America in 1865, some may say the issue is one of the past.
“The apology is the first step of it but the rest of it is still painful, “said Holland.
Though years have passed, Holland hopes that this will shed light and provide knowledge to others about what many Africans faced in a time, not too long ago.