State Sen. James Seeks Georgia Apology for Slavery


donzella 1(APN) ATLANTA — State Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) has introduced a Senate Resolution, SR 537, seeking that the State of Georgia formally apologize for slavery and Jim Crow.


On January 15, 2020, the Senate referred the resolution to the Rules Committee.


The co-sponsors on the resolution are State Sens. Gail Davenport (D-Atlanta), Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta), Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale), and Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia).


“We already introduced it a few times and it didn’t pass,” Sen. James told Atlanta Progressive News.  “It didn’t move when I tried to introduce it before.”


“I know that as a former slave-owning State, Georgia has never really acknowledged the inhumane treatment of our people.  And not only slavery, but Jim Crow,” James said.


“It has been hurtful, not only to Blacks, but to so many people,” she said.


Nine of the eighteen U.S. states that allowed slavery have apologized.


Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Alabama apologized in 2007.


New Jersey and Florida apologized in 2008.  Tennessee and Connecticut apologized in 2009.  Delaware apologized in 2016.


The holdouts include Georgia, as well as Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas.


“I was trying to get the Black Caucus to sign on,” James said.  “They were doing a different one, which was reparations. I’m not asking for something that’s impossible or probably not going to happen in our lifetime.”


A U.S. Congressional Resolution apologizing for the institution of slavery passed the U.S. House in 2008, but not the U.S. Senate.  In 2009, another resolution passed the U.S. Senate but not the U.S. House.


James said a group of millennials had asked her to introduce the legislation.


“Most of that whole group said they think it’s terrible that we were stolen from the shores of Africa and treated inhumane and really treated badly,” Sen. James said.


“They wanted to know why Georgia hadn’t addressed getting some reconciliation like some other states have already done,” she said.


“If we go to Savannah I can take you to where they had the auction block for slaves.  I’ve been to the shores of Nigeria, they have the City of No Return. I could see where the ships were where they packed them in,” she said.


“They raped the young people.  They were not considered people, even if they were royalty in their own country.”


“My constituents deserve this apology so we can move forward,” she said.


“Civil Rights has only gone so far.  We still need the apology to move forward.”


(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2020)

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