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Slavery "remorse" introduced in Georgia legislature

8:35 PM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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  • Artist depiction of slave auction
  • Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville)
  • Georgia State Representative Al Williams (D-Midway)
    

ATLANTA -- A conservative Republican State Senator proposed a legislative resolution on Thursday expressing regret and remorse for support of slavery in Georgia before and during the Civil War.

Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) stopped short of calling it an apology, saying, "no one can apologize for something a previous legislature has done."

He told 11 Alive he was approached by some African American ministers who asked him to sponsor the resolution.

"This is not political, this is something that we need to do; we need to acknowledge our errors of the past or you're destined to repeat those in the future," Loudermilk said.

A handful of white and black lawmakers have tried similar resolutions in the past, but all have failed.

State Representive Al Williams (D-Midway), a black caucus member, has been trying for 6 years.

He told 11 Alive he was pleased that Sen. Loudermilk is now trying to get one passed.

"Many other states have done it, the Southern Baptist Convention did it and it has nothing to do with whether or not you were involved in slavery...you speak for the state, the state needs to apologize," Williams said.

Williams admits that while Loudermilk will have support from some members of the black caucus, especially in the State House, he will run into opposition in the State Senate.

Caucus member Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) has opposed such resolutions in the past from Republicans, calling them only lip service.

Fort told 11 Alive he believes as long as the GOP controlled legislature continues to cut state programs and promote tougher restrictions on voting, any slavery resolution is meaningless.

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