Slavery Apology Sparks Controversy

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

January 16, 2007

Republican Delegate Frank Hargrove opposes a measure that would have the state apologize to the descendants of slaves.

He told his colleagues today that black people should get over it and questioned whether jews should apologize for killing christ.

University of Virginia's Chief Diversity Officer questions why anyone would oppose the meaure.

William Harvey says "what harm does it do? It seems to me it can in fact exorcise some demons we face as a society no matter who we are or what race we come from."

The bill is sponsored by black Virginia law makers, two of whom descended from slaves.

They say the resolution is part of the healing process for centuries old injustices. Others say there shouldn't be an apology for something nobody alive today had anything to do with.

" And so if in terms of trying to get us to move forward as a more unified body of individuals what exactly is the difficulty having a statement of this kind" said Harvey.

Virginia's history of slavery dates back to Jamestown in 1619. It is well known that Thomas Jefferson had slaves and that the University of Virginia was built in part by slaves.

The resolution urges acknowledgement and atonement.

"Use the resolution of those problem as a way to think about creating a future and a present that is more inclusive for all of us" said Harvey.

Albemarle County Republicans issued this statement saying "there are no slaves alive or slave owners alive today. Therefore it is unclear who would be "apologizing" to whom. The bill merely opens old wounds.

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