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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Senate Passes Resolution Apologizing for Slavery

June 18, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution apologizing to African Americans for slavery and segregation.  The resolution was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin, D. Iowa, and Senator Sam Brownback. R. Kan. 

In the resolution, the Senate "expresses its recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and calls on all people of the United States to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices and discrimination from our society."

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR, said:

"Slavery and the western slave trade are crimes against humanity and will forever be known as our republic's original sin. A formal apology by the U.S. Congress for the dehumanization and racism wrought by both the enslavement of African Americans and for Jim Crow segregation will admittedly never right such a grave wrong, but it is an important first step in acknowledging its tortured legacy.

For almost a century after our civil war, African Americans endured numerous civil and human rights violations including lynchings, deprivation of the right to vote, and other forms disenfranchisement borne out of virulent racism.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights commends Senators Harkin and Brownback for introducing a resolution that appropriately speaks to this past collective injustice. It represents an important advancement for civil and human rights, as well as for racial healing and reconciliation.

This Senate resolution – similar to one passed by the House last year – acknowledges the loss of human dignity and opportunity that continues to this day, and serves as a reminder for future generations that the evils of slavery and racial segregation can never be accepted again.

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