June 19, 2009

That Took A While

tUS Senate approves apology for slavery
The US Senate approved a fiercely worded resolution formally apologising for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery" of African-Americans.

The unanimous voice vote came five months after Barack Obama became the first black US president, and ahead of the June 19 "Juneteenth" celebration of the emancipation of African-Americans at the end of the US Civil War in 1865.

The non-binding resolution now heads to the House of Representatives, where a similar resolution passed by voice vote in July 2008, only to wither in the upper chamber.

House approval, which could come as early as next week, would make it the first time the entire US Congress has formally apologised on behalf of the American people for one of the grimmest wrongs in US history.

The bill, which does not require Obama's signature, states that the US Congress "acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws" that enshrined racial segregation at the state and local level in the United States well into the 1960s.

The Congress "apologises 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 and Jim Crow laws."

And it "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."

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