Sunday, April 8, 2007

Slavery Apologies Gain Momentum in Southern States

North Carolina's senate joined Virginia and Maryland in passing resolutions apologizing for past official actions that legalized slavery and discrimination. North Carolina's house will most likely pass their own resolution as well. Other states are expected to follow and with the increasing calls for active racial reconciliation, there is also a momentum for a "slavery apology" at the federal level.

Virginia, the first state to pass a such a resolution, wrote in their resolution that government sanctioned slavery “ranks as the most horrendous of all depredations of human rights and violations of our founding ideals in our nation’s history, and the abolition of slavery was followed by systematic discrimination, enforced segregation, and other insidious institutions and practices toward Americans of African descent that were rooted in racism, racial bias, and racial misunderstanding.”

On North Carolina's senate resolution, Jack Betts wrote in his April 8th article, A Resolution on equality is worth a listen for all (Charlotte Observer) that: When Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand rose Thursday and asked for immediate consideration of a resolution "expressing the profound regret of the North Carolina General Assembly for the history of wrong inflicted upon black citizens by means of slavery, exploitation and legalized racial segregation and calling on all citizens to take part in acts of racial conciliation," the usual background buzz came to a halt. I listened to a recording of the full debate as senators took turns expressing contrition about things approved by Old South legislatures of states that once willingly fought in a war that would have preserved the enslavement of other humans. It wasn't just an apology for slavery. It was an accounting of the injustices done in the public's name by laws approved over the centuries. See

The Latest Legacy of Slavery: Apologies by Erin Texeira, Associated Press, March 12, 2007,

Apologies for slavery too little too late by Sam Johns, Black News Weekly (BNW)