Congress Formally Apologize for Slavery and Jim Crow

"The House on Tuesday issued an unprecedented apology to black Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws".


This will mark the 1st time that any branch of the U.S. government will officially acknowledge the role the government played in slavery. This apology was introduced on the floor by Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the only white law maker to represent a majority Black state. Although there have been five other states to issue apologies, they were stalled by Congress, because it was said that they were concerned that an apology would lead to demands for reparations.

Keeping up with the Huxtables managed to get their hands on the official transcript of Representative Cohens speech that was made on the floor yesterday, courtesy of Taiwo "Tai" Stanback and Chanelle Dumas. We will give you a few highlights that we find interesting:

"The fact is, slavery and Jim Crow are stains upon what is the greatest nation on the face of the earth and the greatest government ever conceived by man. But when we conceived this government and said all men were created equal we didn't in fact make all men equal, nor did we make women equal. We have worked to form a more perfect union, and part of forming a more perfect union is laws, and part of it is such as resolutions like we have before us today where we face up to our mistakes and we apologize, as anyone should apologize for things that were done in the past that were wrong. And we begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of where we are in America today and why certain conditions exist."


"Twenty years ago this congress passed a bill apologizing for the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. "

"But the fact that this government has not apologized to its own citizens, African-Americans, for the institution of slavery and for the Jim Crow laws that followed and accepted that fact and encouraged changes in our dialogue and understanding in the actions of this country to rectify that is certainly a mistake. And today we rectify that mistake."

"So it is with great honor that I speak on this resolution and urge the members of this body to pass this historic resolution, recognize our errors, but also recognize the greatness of this country, because only a great country can recognize and admit its mistakes and then travel forth to create indeed a more perfect union that works to bring people of all races, religions and creeds together in unity as Americans part of the United States of America."

So I know that many people are thinking that this is untimely and how dare they not apologize before because of fear of demands of reparations. I'm thinking the very same thing. However, it is a great effort and step forward made by Rep. Cohen, although he happens to be running against a black challenger in a primary face-off next week, so this could be a reason that he found it necessary to "speak up for us".

Keeping up with the Huxtables congratulates Representative Cohen for taking a stand yesterday on the floor for something that is way pass due. Although the apology will not change the many issues that we still face today, they are finally acknowledging all of the things that they did wrong in the past. It is now time to move forward and take a stand on the racism and discrimination that still exist. (I'm guessing we will never get our reparations).

What do you think about this Resolution that Representative Cohen presented?

Does it even matter anymore?



Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

apology not accepted

the maroon said...

Could it be a step in the right direction?

Maybe, maybe not. What could make this useful, is an analysis into the effects of slavery. A comprehensive analysis covering all aspects of our existence here and in Africa. Then moving forward to the institutions that are akin to slavery and Jim Crow that still exist today, although they may be less formal. But, yeah it could be a step...could be. A small step.

And don't be so pessimistic about the reparations. These are intelligent scholars and black leaders whose day job is working with leading banks of the slave trade (Wachovia, Barclays) about receiving reparations. I recently spoke to the leader of the Philly chapter, who is respected immensely, and would not say this if it weren't true and he told me "Its much closer than you think". These brothers and sisters are committed to securing funds. Even better, these funds will be used for the uplift of our community, rather than checks to every black citizen (a la those stimulus checks). So keep an eye open for that. They really are working hard.

The Socialite said...

Thank you for providing us with that information. It is good to hear that people are working towards getting that done. I also am glad that it will go towards uplifting the Black community.

Catherine said...

I am actually at a loss for words.

I believe that when you wrong someone that you are to be humble. Should there be a demand for reparations, then so be it! That is a small price for them to pay compared to the HUGE price that our ancestors paid while being enslaved for over than 400 years. I believe that our predominately white congress stalling apologies has a lot to do with its members being so far removed from that period in American history, and minimal exposure and disbelief of the effects of slavery. Our community has suffered and continues to suffer from the results of slavery, while whites do not. (Well, they did "suffer" but quite obviously their suffering can NOT be compared to ours. Compared to us their "suffering" can at most be called a few minor disturbances.) It reminds me of the exchange between Sarah and Chenille in Save the Last Dance (lol):

Chenille: you come white so you gotta be white taking what we have left [black men] after death, drugs, and drive-bys. That is what Nikki meant about you being up in our world.
Sarah: There's only one world Chenille.
Chenille: That is what they teach you, WE know different.

I accept Steve Cohen's apology on the behalf of the state of Tennessee. Holding grudges NEVER takes you to a better place, mentally or in life.

philosopher said...

I think it is a step. LONG overdue. But truthfully the apology can only be accepted when better strides are taken to do better, by the majority. You can't apologize and then not act better. So, we'll see whether or not the apology is sincere over the next few years, I'm sure.

Eathan said...

I think it's 1 step of a long journey. I know that Senator had his own selfish reasons for presenting the bill.. but It's about time! Sooner or later we have to begin healing.. and maybe this will be a turning point for a new generation of us.

foxxychica said...

Now what?

(I think this is open salon worthy, they need to be informed.)

Langston said...

Good stuff. I will will be waiting for an apology for Jim Crow and the governmental/institutionalized racism that they kept up for over a hundred years after slavery.

ShAĆ© - ShAĆ© said...

Pardon me for not jumping for joy but the people who truly needed to hear this are no longer here.

Christine D. Greenwood said...

Hello to all my brothers and sisters that have been directly damaged from our ancestors being enslaved for so very many many years. This apology is indeed A Step in the right direction, but WE must demand a fair and sizeable reparation. This is not something to be given to us, but something that has been earned with our ancestors lives. We cannot take this lightly, we are damaged and we must seek real justice. Unfortunately, our ancestors are dead and gone but they live through us, and our children will live through us, we must be paid what we are due. There is no stopping at an apology because this is a money/material world. So let us not lose focus on the real issue, and that is restitution to all black people who has African heritage. Thank you Senator Cohen, but it's not enough. Unitl we get to what's really going to make a difference for our kids, I'm still not happy nor forgiving. The solution is to rightfully give back to us what was stolen from us, money is needed for our children. It's our job to see that this happens, such as our ancestors/slaves paved our way with their lives, now we have to not let their deaths and pain be in vein. There is a time for forgiving, but we must stay focus on the facts, and then and only then, when thing have been made right, will we as a people be able to truely move forward. We owe our black kids. This money belongs to us and all of our kids and grandchildren. After all, it was well-earned by our mothers and fathers, and grandmothers and grandfathers, and all our relatives that ceme before them. Let's stand, and stand unified once again for this is what our fathers and mothers would tell us to do.

Christine Greenwood

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