Virginia lawmakers express "profound regret" for slavery

WASHINGTON DC, USA, February 26, 2007 – House and Senate members in the state of Virginia have approved a resolution officially declaring their “profound regret” for slavery.

The bill passed the House unanimously with all 96 members supporting it Saturday and all 40 approved it in the Senate by a voice vote. The symbolic move on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol made Virginia the first southern US state to approve such a measure.

The historic resolution comes as the state gears up to celebrate the 400th anniversary of slavery. Jamestown was the first area in Virginia where Africans were first brought and enslaved in 1619. The bill in part states the slavery “ranks as the most horrendous of all depredations of human rights and violations of our founding ideals in our nation’s history.” And adds: “the abolition of slavery was followed by systematic discrimination, enforced segregation, and other insidious institutions and practices toward Americans of African descent that were rooted in racism, racial bias, and racial misunderstanding.” Census records show Virginia had the most slaves of any state.

Lawmakers in Missouri are also considering a similar legislation. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has apologized for his country’s role in slavery while St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has not let up from his call for an official apology from former European colonizers. (Copyright