NAACP Applauds U.S. Senate for Passing Bipartisan Resolution Apologizing for the Enslavement and Racial Segregation of African-Americans;June 18, 2009
Urges U.S. House to Pass Concurrent Resolution Swiftly
WASHINGTON DC—The NAACP commends the United States Senate today for its passage of a historic resolution apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans.
“The NAACP would like to thank Senators Harkin and Brownback and the entire Senate for passing this resolution. We hope that their counterparts in the House, Congressman Steve Cohen and others will act swiftly to pass their concurrent resolution,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “The apology for slavery and the era of Jim Crow segregation is long overdue and is the first step toward healing the wounds of African-American men and women throughout this country.”
The resolution comes during the celebration known as Juneteenth, the nation’s oldest commemoration of the end of slavery. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), sponsored the bill; Congressman Cohen will sponsor the bill in the House, which is expected to be debated soon.
“On the hundredth anniversary of the NAACP, the passage of the U.S. Senates apology for the horrors experienced by blacks victimized by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Jim Crow era and even the residuals of these barbaric experiences on the African American descendants of these courageous Americans is long overdue and much needed. This eloquently captured Concurrent Resolution sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, creates a watershed opportunity for Americans of all races, ethnicities and national origins to better understand the historic racial challenges of our nation and work together to craft solution to the remnants of racism still lingering in our society,” said Hilary O. Shelton, Vice President for Advocacy and Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau.
After making detailed findings regarding slavery and era of legalized segregation known as “Jim Crow,” the resolution reads that the Congress “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws and 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.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members in the U.S. around the world advocate for civil and human rights, conducting voter mobilization campaigns, and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.