Some interesting news from my former home commonwealth Virginia. Both houses of the General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution to apologize for slavery and exploitation of Native Americans. The measure of course is merely symbolic. The crimes occurred a century and more ago committed by people long since deceased. Due to the liquidity of the American population it’s not even likely that these elected representatives nor their constituents include a great number of descendants of slave holders. But in another sense it is very appropriate. Slavery in England’s colonies began in Virginia when the first black indentured servants arrived in Jamestown in 1619. Virginia has a long history of leading the nation and inspiring revolutionary change, and I think this may be another case. I’ve read some other bloggers commentary about the resolution and it’s largely negative along the lines of “too little, too late” and “hypocrisy.” I think a commenter at the Busted Halo blog puts it best though when s/he states that it is a good thing to acknowledge our shameful past in the same way that we patriotically celebrate our more commendable moments. Whitewashing history generally is ineffective compared to simply letting it all hang out.
3 thoughts on “Virginia Apologizes for Slavery”
Earl Ofari Hutchinson’s take: Virginia Apologizes For Slavery, Now It’s Congress’ Turn.
Apologies latest legacy of slavery by Erin Texeira.
New Jersey is the first Northern state to apologize for slavery. Mackubin Thomas Owens writes an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor called “A mistaken apology for slavery” (1/11/08). I disagree that it’s mistaken as well as the conclusions made in the final paragraph, but like a lot of the other points raised in the article