Slavery Apology Won't Happen In Nebraska

Slavery Apology Won't Happen In Nebraska

Published April 18, 2008

Posted April 18, 2008 – Remember told you earlier this month about a squabble that Nebraska lawmakers were having over whether the Legislature should “apologize” or express “profound regret” over the state’s involvement in slavery? Well, the matter has now been shelved altogether because they couldn’t agree on how to word the resolution.

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Says Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers (D-Omaha), the way the matter has been handled shows "the depth and breadth of racism in this state."

After several days of back-and-forth, Sen.  Dwite Pedersen, also of Omaha, asked the Legislature to ignore his resolution, largely because he could no longer stand by a measure that had the powerful word “apology” bleached out of it. Those on the legislative committee that decided that “regret” went far enough noted that the Nebraska Territory outlawed slavery the same year the Civil War began.

In 1861, the Nebraska Territory , banned slavery. Seven years earlier, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Nebraska Territory, overturning the Missouri Compromise by leaving the issue of whether or not to allow slavery up to the legislatures of the Nebraska and Kansas territories. After that, the issue of slavery was bantered about by territorial lawmakers for the next six years. Although Nebraskans never actually approved slavery, some southerners who migrated to the state had slaves.

According to historian A. Sheldon, author of “Sheldon’s History and Stories of Nebraskans,” there were 13 slaves in Nebraska in 1855; by 1860, there were 10. Had it passed a resolution, Nebraska would have joined six other states — Alabama , Florida , Maryland , New Jersey , North Carolina and Virginia , — that officially “apologized” for slavery.

Do you agree with Ernie Chambers?” Click “Discuss Now,” to the upper right, and post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff


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