Thursday, September 11, 2008
Apology for Slavery and Jim Crow
Sisterdoc spied this on the NAACP website. It is interesting because the call is for an apology for slavery AND for Jim Crow practices. The Jim Crow part is key because is serves as a reminder of how Jim Crow was a legalized, modern form of slavery-era rules and practices. Think: Black codes, Sunset Laws, Segregation, Bans on interracial marriage... So, for those folks who often say that slavery was long ago, and why don't Blacks leave the past in the past. This call for an apology serves as a reminder that racist practices did not end a century and a half ago. Jim Crow was of our and our parents' generation and its effects still remain (Jena 6 anybody?).
On Tuesday, July 29 2008 the United States House of Representatives passed,
by a unanimous vote, H. Res. 194, a resolution apologizing for the enslavement
and racial segregation of African Americans. This resolution was significant for
several reasons, including the fact that it addressed not only slavery but the
“separate but equal” Jim Crow era as well.
This legislation is an important first step in recognizing a very important aspect
of American’s history and recommitting ourselves to bringing about an end to
the disparities and injustices that continue to plague our Nation as a result of
the dehumanization of an entire race. In passing this resolution, the House of
Representatives has sent a message to all of the American people and others
that the most powerful nation in the world is willing to look honestly at some of
the most shameful parts of its history, accept responsibility, and apologize for its actions.
The NAACP Washington Bureau has been in negotiations with Senator Tom
Harkin (Iowa) to author a companion resolution in the Senate; we are hoping it
will be introduced in the near future. The NAACP also strongly supports H.R.
40, legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (MI) to take the next
step toward healing our Nation by addressing and seeking remedy for the
lingering effects if this deplorable institution.