by Max Brantley
Alabama did and John Brummett is not particularly impressed. (Link fixed.) It, and the rest of us, have plenty to apologize for in the here and now. Ready for Round II?
UPDATE WITH A LOCALIZER: Sen. Tracy Steele does a weekly commentary for Power 92. Here's his latest, on this topic.
Hi, this is Senate Majority Leader Tracy Steele, and this is your Capitol Report.
This week, the state of Alabama became the fourth state to officially apologize for state's role in the institution of slavery. Alabama's recent action has sparked a new national debate on whether other states will follow their example. African-American leaders in Arkansas are at the forefront of the public discussion on this important issue.
In my opinion, there should be an apology along with a commitment to study and understand the historical impact of slavery on our state. African-Americans were freed from slavery in 1865. After Reconstruction, "Jim Crow" segregation laws took over where slavery ended. These horrible institutions produced years of inhumane treatment and unjust laws that still have a lingering effect today.
For example, it took 99 years after slavery officially ended before the nation passed a viable civil rights law and 100 years before African-Americans truly received the right to vote. And for those who say it was a long time ago, let me remind you that our foreparents were enslaved almost twice as long as we have been free. I also feel that because slavery was legal, and part of a public record, the apology should be legal.
I would be the first to agree we have had progress, but when someone has been treated wrong, it doesn't matter how much good you do to make up for what happened, an apology is still in order.