StateStats: Apologies for Slavery

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June 2008 

Six states have apologized for their historical roles in supporting slavery. Florida became the most recent state to adopt a resolution expressing the Legislature’s “profound regret for Florida’s role in sanctioning and perpetuating involuntary servitude upon generations of African slaves.” Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia have previously done so. Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska are considering resolutions.

Virginia was the first to enact a resolution, in February 2007. It was also the state with the largest slave population in the country in 1860.

Although all six state resolutions passed with almost unanimous approval, there was debate over whether these apologies might lead to calls for reparations—payments to descendants of slaves.

Congress has not yet passed any kind of apology.