[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. Con. Res. 26 Engrossed in Senate (ES)]

111th CONGRESS
  1st Session
S. CON. RES. 26

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                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Whereas during the history of the Nation, the United States has grown into a 
        symbol of democracy and freedom around the world;
Whereas the legacy of African-Americans is interwoven with the very fabric of 
        the democracy and freedom of the United States;
Whereas millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United 
        States and the 13 American colonies from 1619 through 1865;
Whereas Africans forced into slavery were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, 
        and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and 
        heritage;
Whereas many enslaved families were torn apart after family members were sold 
        separately;
Whereas the system of slavery and the visceral racism against people of African 
        descent upon which it depended became enmeshed in the social fabric of 
        the United States;
Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the ratification of the 13th 
        amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1865, after the 
        end of the Civil War;
Whereas after emancipation from 246 years of slavery, African-Americans soon saw 
        the fleeting political, social, and economic gains they made during 
        Reconstruction eviscerated by virulent racism, lynchings, 
        disenfranchisement, Black Codes, and racial segregation laws that 
        imposed a rigid system of officially sanctioned racial segregation in 
        virtually all areas of life;
Whereas the system of de jure racial segregation known as ``Jim Crow'', which 
        arose in certain parts of the United States after the Civil War to 
        create separate and unequal societies for Whites and African-Americans, 
        was a direct result of the racism against people of African descent that 
        was engendered by slavery;
Whereas the system of Jim Crow laws officially existed until the 1960s--a 
        century after the official end of slavery in the United States--until 
        Congress took action to end it, but the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to 
        this day;
Whereas African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery 
        and Jim Crow laws--long after both systems were formally abolished--
        through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, 
        including the loss of human dignity and liberty;
Whereas the story of the enslavement and de jure segregation of African-
        Americans and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should 
        not be purged from or minimized in the telling of the history of the 
        United States;
Whereas those African-Americans who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws, 
        and their descendants, exemplify the strength of the human character and 
        provide a model of courage, commitment, and perseverance;
Whereas on July 8, 2003, during a trip to Goree Island, Senegal, a former slave 
        port, President George W. Bush acknowledged the continuing legacy of 
        slavery in life in the United States and the need to confront that 
        legacy, when he stated that slavery ``was . . . one of the greatest 
        crimes of history . . . The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end 
        with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still 
        trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But 
        however long the journey, our destiny is set: liberty and justice for 
        all.'';
Whereas President Bill Clinton also acknowledged the deep-seated problems caused 
        by the continuing legacy of racism against African-Americans that began 
        with slavery, when he initiated a national dialogue about race;
Whereas an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot 
        erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed and a formal 
        apology to African-Americans will help bind the wounds of the Nation 
        that are rooted in slavery and can speed racial healing and 
        reconciliation and help the people of the United States understand the 
        past and honor the history of all people of the United States;
Whereas the legislatures of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of 
        Alabama, Florida, Maryland, and North Carolina have taken the lead in 
        adopting resolutions officially expressing appropriate remorse for 
        slavery, and other State legislatures are considering similar 
        resolutions; and
Whereas it is important for the people of the United States, who legally 
        recognized slavery through the Constitution and the laws of the United 
        States, to make a formal apology for slavery and for its successor, Jim 
        Crow, so they can move forward and seek reconciliation, justice, and 
        harmony for all people of the United States: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
That the sense of the Congress is the following:
            (1) Apology for the enslavement and segregation of african-
        americans.--The Congress--
                    (A) acknowledges the fundamental injustice, 
                cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim 
                Crow laws;
                    (B) apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of 
                the people of the United States, for the wrongs 
                committed against them and their ancestors who suffered 
                under slavery and Jim Crow laws; and
                    (C) expresses its recommitment to the principle 
                that all people are created equal and endowed with 
                inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
                happiness, and calls on all people of the United States 
                to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, 
                injustices, and discrimination from our society.
            (2) Disclaimer.--Nothing in this resolution--
                    (A) authorizes or supports any claim against the 
                United States; or
                    (B) serves as a settlement of any claim against the 
                United States.

            Passed the Senate June 18, 2009.

            Attest:

                                                             Secretary.
111th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                            S. CON. RES. 26

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

   Apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-
                               Americans.