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Thu, 06.04.2009

The State of Connecticut Apologizes For American Slavery

Letter of Sale

*On this date in 2009 Connecticut formally apologized for its role and complicity in American Slavery.

Late that night, as the 2009 regular legislative session was about to end, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve the joint resolution of apology which was passed by the state’s House of Representatives two weeks ago. Connecticut became the eighth state to apologize for slavery in the past two years, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey. Connecticut’s history is typical of northeastern states: Connecticut practiced slavery from the earliest colonial days until the eve of the American Civil War, formally abolishing slavery only in 1848.

While the House approved the resolution by voice vote without dissent, the Senate went a step further, taking a roll-call vote in which all thirty-six senators voted in favor of the apology. State Sen. Toni Harp (D-New Haven), said that an apology “is something that will go a long way in making things different” for her and other black citizens and that even as a “symbolic move,” the apology demonstrates  “a renewed commitment” to ending racial inequality in our society. State Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield) said that it was “an honor to speak on behalf of this resolution.”

As with most state apologies, the resolution was amended, prior to adoption in the House, to specify that the apology does not create a legal right to sue for reparations.


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