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 U.S. Senate Apologizes For Slavery

...With A Disclaimer Causing Controversy

June 19. 2009

Following in the lead of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate apologized for Slavery yesterday. They did so with a disclaimer that created controversy.

The Senate apologized for, "The fundamental injustice, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws." However, added, "Nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States."

It was basically a legal disclaimer issued in an effort to impede any possible lawsuit or financial settlement for reparations that could be brought against the United States government.

It's amazing and pretty disgusting that some people are still practicing slavery in modern times.

Senate apologizes for slavery, but disclaimer draws criticism

WASHINGTON -- The Senate passed a resolution Thursday calling on the U.S. to apologize officially for the enslavement and segregation of millions of African-Americans and to acknowledge "the fundamental injustice, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws."

The resolution, sponsored with little fanfare by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, passed on a voice vote. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where it may meet an unlikely foe: members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Several CBC members expressed concerns Thursday about a disclaimer that states that "nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States."

The CBC members think that the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims from the descendants of slaves. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said her organization is studying the language of Harkin's resolution.

Other CBC members said they've read it and don't like it.

"Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. "A number of us are prepared to vote against it in its present form. There are several members of the Progressive Caucus who feel the same way."

Thompson and other Black Caucus members noted that a 1988 apology that the government issued to the Japanese-Americans held in U.S. camps during World War II had no disclaimer and didn't prevent them from receiving compensation.

"The language is unacceptable," said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., "I'm a reparations man - how else do you repair the damage?"

http://www.miamiherald.com

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