370 Years Later, Connecticut is exonerating accused witches
In May, legislators in Connecticut passed a resolution to exonerate people accused of being witches in the seventeenth century. The resolution passed nearly 376 years to the day that Alice “Alsa” Young was put to death in the state. She was the first to be executed for alleged witchcraft in colonial America, decades before the more well-known Salem witch trials began in Massachusetts in 1692.
Dozens of people were killed, mostly women, over accused witchcraft in the U.S. in the 1600s and early 1700s. It’s estimated that nearly 50,000 people were killed in Europe based purely on superstition.
Today, accusations of witchcraft still lead to violence in some parts of the world, including Ghana and Nigeria. Leo Igwe, a Nigerian human rights activist thinks a lot about this subject.
“When these people are killed, nobody is brought to justice,” Igwe told 1A. “It is important to really publicize this resolution and what it stands for – that America says, this belongs to our past.”
We also talk with the Connecticut state senator who helped pass the resolution, a historian, and a descendant of an accused person who advocated for the exoneration of their ancestors.
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