House resolution apologizes for slavery

July 29, 2008 at 7:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives, on a voice vote Tuesday, approved a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation of African-Americans.

A "genuine apology is an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation," the non-binding resolution read.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., the only white representative of an African-American-majority district, "apologizes 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."

The resolution also said the House would commit to "stop the occurrence of human rights violations in the future."

The resolution does not address reparations.

Lawmakers have apologized to ethnic groups before.

In April, the Senate passed a resolution apologizing to Native Americans for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect," CNN reported. In 1993, the Senate passed a resolution apologizing for the "illegal overthrow" of the kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.

In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed an act apologizing to Japanese-Americans detained in detention camps during World War II, CNN said. The detainees alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government.

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