Virginia first state to express 'regret' over slavery





"Sorry" may be too expensive a word.

Once the heart of the Confederacy, Virginia has become the first state to express remorse for its past support of slavery, an action other states are in line to follow. The General Assembly passed a resolution of "profound regret" for "the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans."

Virginia, which passed its resolution without objection Saturday, went further than any state has gone. This year, though, states and cities across the country are considering resolutions, launching studies and taking other actions to recognize slavery in their history.

Most are stopping short of apologizing. The Virginia resolution's authors, both great-grandsons of slaves, sought "atonement" for slavery but say they were told the word could prompt claims for reparations —- monetary compensation —- to the descendants of slaves...

[The resolution sponsor, Henry Marsh III] says the possibility of reparations would have sunk the effort he led with Delegate Donald McEachin, also a Democrat...

No state has apologized for slavery, although a measure to do so is pending in Missouri. No U.S. president or Congress has apologized. In 1988, Congress apologized to Japanese-Americans who were held in camps during World War II and gave each surviving internee $20,000.



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