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Senate Unanimously OKs Apology for Slavery

Senate Unanimously OKs Apology for Slavery

Published June 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation and sent the measure to the House.

Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin first introduced the measure years ago but wanted it passed Thursday on the eve of Juneteenth - a day of celebration commemorating the end of the Civil War and the release of African Americans from slavery. He said the House is to take it up soon and that a formal celebration will be held next month in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Senate has passed such nonbinding but highly symbolic resolutions before, apologizing for such things as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The resolution passed Thursday includes a disclaimer saying that nothing in it supports or authorizes reparations by the United States.

Editor's Note: The Senate's resolution read "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." 

Without the weight of the law behind it, is the Senate's apology enough?

Written by The Associated Press

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