Senate Version of Slavery Apology in the Works

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) is working on a Senate version of an apology for slavery.

Harkin said he is working with Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas on the resolution and he has yet to formally announce the proposal but anticipates it could hit the Senate floor in September. In the House, Harkin has been negotiating with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

"I've been working on it, and I have the companion bill on that," Harkin said.

"Look, we've apologized to Native Americans. We apologized to the Hawaiians, for overthrowing their king. We've apologized to Japanese-Americans. We did all that. But the biggest blot on America was slavery. It was condoned by the Constitution, condoned by our early governments, condoned by business. We fought a very bloody civil war over it, and there were Jim Crow laws after that. We can't do anything about that, and reparations are out of the question. But what we can do is say, 'Look, in this day and age today, we recognize how wrong that was.'"

"We owe an apology to every descendent of slaves today because of what happened, because it set them back so far. Our commitment now ought to be to make sure we have laws for equal opportunity and equal access, education, all the things like that that can try to close that gap and move African-Americans in our society as forward as possible."

- J. Taylor Rushing