Local Politics

Backers of Apology for Slavery Urge Change, Too

Posted April 9, 2007
Updated April 10, 2007

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— Slaves were viewed as property, not people. Of course, North Carolina cannot erase the injustices of slavery and the segregationist Jim Crow laws that followed. Lawmakers can apologize, however, and two resolutions in the Legislature offer profound regret for the state's past institution of oppression.

There are questions, however, including whether an apology for the past changes anything for the future.

“I think it’s a good thing they're recognizing slavery was morally wrong in this country, but I also think it won't effect a lot of change,” said Bryan Booker, an assistant professor of history at St. Augustine's College.

State Rep. Dan Blue, D-Wake County, sees the need to link past and future, too.

“I think its important to acknowledge that it was wrong, and everybody needs to understand that happened. But, we have to be more aggressive pursuing policies,” said the great grandson of slaves.

Yet, Blue said he opposes reparations to descendants of slaves, which some have argued are deserved.

“How do you sort those out from a strictly legal standpoint? How do you assess the damages?” Blue said.

Blue said a more practical answer is to enforce civil rights laws already on the books—make a stronger commitment to close the racial achievement gap in schools, hold employers to equality standards and investigate a justice system in which African Americans make up a disproportionate share of the prison population.

“I'm thinking of a more sustained, more long-term kind of effort that we all ought to partake in, not solely as a sense of indebtedness, but as a sense of investment for our own well-being,” Blue said.

A resolution passed the Senate last week. A similar bill is now before the House.

Some critics see no need to apologize for the sins of North Carolina's ancestors, but the bills have bipartisan support. Virginia and Maryland have passed similar measures.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wondermom67 Apr 11, 2007

    Are they going to apologize to the Native americans too? This was there land until it was stolen, and then the natives were enslaved. yes slavery was wrong, but you also need to remember where the idea came from as well. the idea of slavery came from Africa itself....when it was seen that larger tribes were capturing smaller tribes and enslaving them, so now word was getting around about this and the French offered the larger tribes money and goods to purchase those humans...Make note of the FRENCH....so now the FRENCH loads these humans up, and brings them to the our shores...where our stupid people buy them. REMEMBER the FRENCH were the ones who brought the humans over here and sold them to us. WE DID NOT go over there. It was africans themselves who rounded the humans up and brought them to the beaches to be sold. I agree slavery is wrong...but reprations is a waste....because there are no slaves that are alive that will benefit from being paid.An apology should be sufficent.

  • Bob3425 Apr 11, 2007

    bmwerman...How about a government that concern with the problems facing today citizens and fixing those problems. This is a waste of time and money when they could be doing something productive.

  • boblucas Apr 11, 2007

    IMUS is such a Liberal Democrat

  • Thornedwolf Apr 10, 2007

    Im not getting salty motormouth my skin is naturaly salty as I imagin most peoples skins are (I hear it tastes like chicken!).
    Any way point getting at I had nothing to do with slavery N o t h i n g. Nore has any one else born in the last 120 years now there are those who are racist yeah but that applys to more then just one race, the fact there still big on apology means racisim still exists think about it? Why need apology when were all happy get along people? But still what good dose apology do us now in 2007 as well.....my bad...sorry its offical now im sorry about the injustice. Still happened...its not realy preventing it from occuring agin (laws from around the time it ended is preventing that) realy I am sorry, but its not like im in a position to end it or a need to end it as its over with already. So what do you realy want us to do about it?

  • cicopath Apr 10, 2007

    Hey who knows maybe the Egyptians will finally apologize to the Jews!

  • lizzyk4587 Apr 10, 2007

    Well when it comes down to it, everything is going to offend somebody. People just need to quit whinning and grow up. If someone always had a law passed everytime they were picked on or teased about anything this world would be chaos. If I think someone is racist against me that is my opinion, not the truth. Just because a certain race doesn't get a job, and the people hired another race instead, I might think they are racist. But to person that did the hiring could be far from racist. This is just all about what people think. It isn't like I think you are racist therefore you are! I mean just because I think someone is ugly don't mean they are ugly that is just my opinion. That is how racism is, just because you think someone is racist doesn't mean they are.

  • angel2747 Apr 10, 2007

    OH yes -- I forgot something in my previous post. As for job discrimination and meeting ethnic quotas in the work place --
    I have a great idea. Have the job applicant not put his/her name on the application -- nor their race, religion, etc. Don't let the interviewer even SEE the applicant. Have their voice changed so the interviewer can't tell if it is a male or female.
    Then -- and only then -- would there be fairness in hiring. The right PERSON would get the job for the RIGHT reasons -- they are the most qualified. Period. Not because of their color, gender, ethnic background, etc. THAT is what is not fair. You should have to EARN a job placement -- not have it be given to you because of something you had no control over -- where you were born or what gender you were born. People are people -- we are all the same -- skin color and accents make no difference in God's eyes -- and shouldn't in our eyes.

  • angel2747 Apr 10, 2007

    OK -- maybe I'm just a simple American citizen -- BUT -- I thought the slavery issue happened over 100 yrs ago. I believe that if we can find anyone who was actually a slave then -- we definitely should compensate them, apologize to them -- anything we can do for them. But to do all these things to their
    descendants 100+ years later? I don't agree. I am part American Indian, Irish, German, etc. -- yet I don't hear of anyone offering me anything. And there is certainly no Irish American History month -- or German American History month. I, personally, am very tired of the bigotry in our country. I thought we were all just plain 'Americans'. Not African-Americans, or French-Americans, etc. We, ourselves, are segregating each other by calling ourselves by these compounded names. If we each called ourselves 'Americans', I believe our country would be truly more united than it is now. Leave the past in the past -- where it really is. We, today, had nothing to do with what happened then.

  • many moons Apr 10, 2007

    ohmyteacher:I wish all employers had the same outlook u have and for all who gets upset when ever slavery is spoken, its not about pointing fingers at u or what u done personally, its about the goverment condoming it 100+ years ago.

  • BAMA MAMA Apr 10, 2007