Virginia Lawmakers Apologize for Slavery

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The Virginia state legislature issues an apology for the state's past history of slavery. The Old Dominion becomes the first southern state to formally acknowledge its role through legislative channels.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

Virginia has become the first state to apologize for slavery. Late yesterday, the state legislature voted to express profound regret for the state's role in the slave trade. The bill's sponsor, Democratic Delegate A. Donald McEachin, said, For there to be true reconciliation over slavery, there has to be an apology and it should come from Virginia.

Mr. A. DONALD MCEACHIN (Delegate, Democrat, Virginia): Because it's the Commonwealth of Virginia that was founded on the shores of Jamestown some 400 years ago. It's the Commonwealth of Virginia that allowed slavery to come through that portal. It's the Commonwealth of Virginia that was really built on the backs of African-Americans. And so it's very appropriate that the commonwealth has now taken this step.

HANSEN: The resolution calls slavery one of the most horrendous of all depredations of human rights, and notes that even after its abolition it was followed by systematic discrimination, enforced segregation, and other practices toward African-Americans that were rooted in racism, racial bias, and racial misunderstanding.

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