Across the U.S., a wave of contrition about slavery





ATLANTA —- More than 140 years after slavery was abolished, Congress and a growing number of elected officials in states and cities are wrestling with whether to formally apologize.

The movement began in the former Confederate capital, Richmond, Va., with state legislators last month unanimously passing a resolution expressing "profound regret" over Virginia's role in slavery and the Jim Crow era.

Now, lawmakers in Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Missouri, Massachusetts and Vermont are considering similar measures that would express regret, apologize or create commemorative days.
The wave of contrition has spread to cities too...

There is wide agreement that such apologies would be largely symbolic political gestures, but there appears to be little consensus on what exactly they would mean.

Some believe official legislative remorse could be cathartic to the nation, showing that it is mature enough to confront its past. But others accuse lawmakers of picking an easy battle: Apologizing for blatant historical wrongs such as slavery, they say, only detracts from addressing present-day injustices.


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