Lawmakers in the state have voted to exonerate a dozen individuals who were convicted of witchcraft hundreds of years ago.
Being convicted of witchcraft in colonial America was no trivial matter – not only were you unlikely to be given a fair or objective trial, but the punishment for being found guilty typically involved being put to death, usually at the end of a rope.
While it’s obviously too late for those who were executed, the descendants of these convicted witches have long campaigned lawmakers in the United States to exonerate their ancestors.
Now thanks to the tireless efforts of the CT Witch Trial Exoneration Project, officials in Connecticut have this month voted 33-1 to exonerate 12 individuals who had been wrongly convicted of witchcraft in the state.
The one vote against came from Senator Rob Sampson who argued that it was wrong to “dictate what was right or wrong about periods in the past that we have no knowledge of.”
“I don’t want to see bills that rightfully or wrongfully attempt to paint America as a bad place with a bad history. I want us to focus on where we’re going, which is a brighter and better future.”
The advocacy group, meanwhile, was very pleased with the result of the vote.
“We are grateful to descendants, advocates, historians, legislators of both parties and many others who made this official resolution possible,” they said.
“[We] will continue to advocate for historical education and memorialisation of the witch trial victims.”