Wednesday, July 30, 2008

At Last: Congress Apologizes for Salvery and Jim Crow Laws

Sometimes good news comes out of nowhere or, as on Tuesday, out of congress, where the House has apologized for slavery and the Jim Crow laws. A lot of people have been pushing for this for some time. But there has never been, until now, sufficient collective will to make it happen. So we say: Well done congresspersons! But also: About time!

The full text of the bill makes interesting reading. This is not a collection of vague words. It reads like the person who wrote it, and the people who passed it, really do understand that there is a lot to apologize for. Consider these assertions, which the House of Representatives has now asserted to be true:

...a century after the official end of slavery in America, Federal action was required during the 1960s to eliminate the dejure and defacto system of Jim Crow throughout parts of the Nation, though its vestiges still linger to this day;

Which is what Dare Not Walk Alone is all about. And this:

...African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow--long after both systems were formally abolished--through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity;

So, if you should hear someone saying that racial inequality is all in the past and that things are all well and good today, kindly tell them that ain't so, and when they ask "Says who?" you can now answer "Says the United States House of Representatives."

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