Alabama legislators agree to combine slavery apologies
By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY — Alabama legislators with competing resolutions apologizing for slavery have decided to stitch their resolutions together in hopes of winning approval in the closing days of the legislative session.
"Now it's just a matter of it getting through the Senate," said Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham.
On April 24, the House passed a short resolution by Moore apologizing for slavery. That same day the Senate passed a much longer resolution by Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, that expressed "profound regret" for slavery.
Sanders' resolution went to the House. Moore's went to the Senate. And nothing happened for nearly three weeks because each had wanted their language to be the one that passed.
Sanders said that with time running out in the legislative session, he and Moore met and decided the best way to succeed was to combine the two resolutions into one, with the full text of both retained in the new version.
"When egos get in the way, you have to compromise," Moore said in an interview Thursday.
Moore's resolution was 11/2 pages long and simply expressed the Legislature's apology "for the wrongs inflicted by slavery and its after effects in the United States of America."
Sanders' resolution was six pages and was largely copied from one passed by the Virginia Legislature. It went into detail about the history of slavery and the lingering impact on the nation. It also quoted from a speech President Bush gave criticizing slavery.
Only five meeting days remain in the legislative session and many bills are backlogged in the Senate waiting for attention. The two legislators figure it won't be any problem to get the combined resolution through the House, but the Senate will be the challenge.
They said they are optimistic, however, that Alabama will join Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina in passing apology resolutions this year.
"The message it will send is Alabama is truly ready to move ahead and Alabama is open for all races," Moore said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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