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Majority of respondents oppose apology, poll says

By Steve Stewart 340-2444

An online poll about apologizing for slavery generated reader comments on reparations, racism and holding today's people responsible for injustices of the past.

"Should the Alabama Legislature pass a resolution apologizing for slavery?" asked the four-day poll, which ended Wednesday at

A total of 262 readers (82.7 percent) answered no, and 55 answered yes.

The poll was unscientific. People could vote from anywhere.

"Since no living person today was involved in slavery, I see no benefit for a resolution, but I do see legal ramifications," Frank Jones of Hartselle wrote by e-mail.

He explained that if the state apologized, it might make itself vulnerable to a lawsuit for damages.

Ron Morris of Athens asked, "Why should we say (we're) sorry for slavery we had nothing to do with? If we give in to this, then the next thing is they (slave descendants) will expect us to give them land and money, seems to me."

Marcia Holmes of Decatur said she favors reparations, not an apology.

"It's very evident that the polls are so high against the apology for slavery because Alabama is still a very prejudiced state with the Rebel flag hanging at the Capitol building," she wrote.

Apologies just words?

"I personally don't think that blacks would care whether or not someone apologizes for slavery because apologies are just words — there aren't any actions being taken to show the appreciation to blacks that built this country. If it weren't for us, what would America be today?

"I think that we should get reparations, not an apology ..."

Coley Spangler wrote from Jacksonville, Fla., also seeing racism:

"I've been in this area for a while now, and now I understand why the situation is what it is in North Alabama. It's sad for an area to be so religious but at the same time more racist! That's just my point of view.

"It's pretty evident that most people around here have never traveled outside of the Alabama state lines."

Jacqueline Tillman of Decatur wrote:

"Slavery was abolished over 100 years ago, and any that feel they have been enslaved since then were caught up in the Johnson welfare era. Welfare was one of the most damaging experiments to those of color, negating the place of the male in families.

"Your relatives and their friends may have had slaves, but unless you were part of the Johnson Great Society Congress, you have nothing to apologize for."

Shirley Chandler of Decatur commented:

"What sense does it make to apologize for something that we had no part in? The best thing that we can do is to rid our hearts of bigotry and prejudice and treat others as we would wish to be treated."

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