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Slavery 'regret' gains support

MONTGOMERY (AP) — State Sen. Hank Sanders introduced a resolution Wednesday to express the Alabama Legislature's "profound regret" for slavery, and legislative leaders predicted the Senate will pass it on Thursday.

"We were not involved in that awful practice, but the government officials of that day were involved in slavery. For us to express our disapproval of what they did as representatives of the state is very appropriate," Senate Rules Committee Chairman Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, said.

Sanders, D-Selma, has 12 fellow Democrats sponsoring his resolution, including Barron and Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove.

"Politically, the Senate as a whole will probably vote for the resolution," Mitchem said.

Barron went further, saying he'd be surprised if anyone votes against it.

The Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina legislatures have passed similar resolutions in recent weeks, and Georgia lawmakers are considering one.

"When I heard about Virginia, I said we really need to do that because there is a great power in acknowledgment when you have hurt and injured someone," Sanders said.

Sanders' resolution recounts the history of slavery, including African families being ripped apart and slaves being brutalized, humiliated and raped.

The resolution says "an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of wrongs can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help African-American and white citizens confront the ghosts of their collective pasts together." It says the legacy of slavery remains today "and for many African-Americans the scars left behind are unbearable, haunting their psyches and clouding their vision of the future and of America's many attributes."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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