RICHMOND, Va. – Meeting on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol, the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously Saturday to express “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery.
Sponsors of the resolution say they know of no other state that has apologized for slavery, although Missouri lawmakers are considering such a measure. The resolution does not carry the weight of law but sends an important symbolic message, supporters said.
“This session will be remembered for a lot of things, but 20 years hence I suspect one of those things will be the fact that we came together and passed this resolution,” said Delegate A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat who sponsored it in the House of Delegates.
People remember the Emancipation Proclamation. They remember the ratification of the 13th amendment. They remember the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They’re probably not going to remember some pandering, meaningless apology for something that ended well over a century ago.
The states apologized for slavery when they each ratified the 13th amendment. That legislation meant something. This doesn’t. Outside of a vehicle for posturing by a bunch of self-righteous politicians.