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Congress offers first formal apology for slavery

Latest update : 2008-07-30

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution offering the first formal apology at a federal level for the slavery and segregation of African-Americans.

US lawmakers Tuesday offered the federal government's first formal apology for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity" of slavery and the legal segregation of African-Americans.
   
The resolution, passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote, "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery" formal segregation laws known as "Jim Crow."
   
Lawmakers also said they were committed to rectifying "the lingering consequences" of slavery and segregation.
   
Congressman Steve Cohen, who introduced the resolution in early 2007, praised the move.
   
"This is a historic moment in the ongoing struggle for civil rights in this country, and I hope that this legislation can serve to open the dialogue on race and equality for all," he said in a statement.
   
"Apologies are not empty gestures, but are a necessary first step towards any sort of reconciliation between people," said Cohen, who represents the area of Memphis, Tennessee.
   
US media reported that Cohen, who is white, is facing a tough primary challenge from an African-American candidate and represents a majority black district.

Date created : 2008-07-30

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