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Pardes Yehuda: House of Representative set to apologize for slavery, Jim Crow laws

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

House of Representative set to apologize for slavery, Jim Crow laws

In a stunning, and downright shocking, news item CNN reports that the House is set to pass a non-binding resolution officially apologizing the for governments role in slavery and legally based racial oppression.

While this does not change the current state of racial affairs in America, nor does it present any sort of compensation package, by reparations or any other way, it does, however, present the positive possibility for our government to repent for its wrongdoings.

The resolution was authored by Congressman Steve Cohen, who represents Memphis, TN, a predominantly black district. Mr. Cohen is the first Jewish representative of the state of Tennessee.

Earlier this year, in April, Representative Sam Brownback of Kansas, offered an apology to Indian Americans for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect." In 1993, the Senate passed a resolution offering an apology to the island chain of Hawaii for the "illegal overthrow" of its indigenous monarchy in 1893. Also, in 1988, the Congress passed a resolution apologizing to Japanese-Americans who were interned by the United States on our own soil during World War II; in that resolution, $20,000 was awarded to the survivors of the internment camps.

This is the first apology offered to the black community for their experience in the United States, and a positive development towards meaningful acknowledgment of the crimes of our past and present.

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