American presidents have come close to apologizing to African-Americans for slavery, and several have spoken of the evil of what some historians call the peculiar institution. Soon, in a measure introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., the U.S. House of Representatives could formally apologize for slavery, Jim Crow segregation and the continuing legacy of discrimination against black people.
As of last week, due in part to a strategy devised to appeal more intimately to potential backers of his congressional resolution, Cohen had collected 90 co-sponsors.
“Slavery and Jim Crow laws were able to survive in our country because they were protected by the actions and acquiescence of the United States government, including Congress; we are still fighting their enduring legacies to this day,” the letters say.
Retired NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks applauded the initiative.