June 13, 2005: The U.S. Senate Apologized to Victims of Lynching

0 Posted by - November 30, 2017 - Injustices, LATEST POSTS, POLITICS

June 13, 2005: The U.S. Senate apologized to lynching victims and their families for their failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century.

From 1890 to 1960, at least 4,700 Americans, over 3,000 of whom were African-Americans, were lynched during a time when the Senate failed to act on hundreds of anti-lynching bills.

The resolution, initially introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. George Allen, R-Va., apologized to the victims and their descendants “for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation.”

To the surprise and outrage of the resolution’s supporters, more than a dozen senators declined to sign on as co-sponsors. Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., did not require a roll-call vote on the resolution, so the debate was scheduled to begin after normal working hours.

With nearly 200 descendants of lynching victims observing the proceedings from the visitors’ gallery, the Senate approved the measure by voice vote.

The resolution was passed Senate without amendment. It declares that the Senate:

  • Apologizes to the victims and survivors of lynching for its failure to enact anti-lynching legislation.
  • Expresses its deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets to the descendants of such victims, whose ancestors were deprived of life, human dignity, and the constitutional protections accorded to U.S. citizens.
  • Remembers the history of lynching, to ensure that these personal tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated.

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2 Comments

  • Derrick Stallworth October 23, 2017 - 11:43 am Reply

    If the U.S. Senate issued an apology for these atrocities, adding their regrets, makes the government responsible on several reasons: 1. They knew it was happening. 2. They could and should have intervene, to save American citizens. Their delay cost people their lives, taking away all they have and all they will ever have. Affecting their family line for all eternity. Yet, no mention was made for compensation for these tragic and needless deaths. No payments, just a dry, empty apology. No reparations, just regrets.

  • Paulette Carter October 24, 2017 - 2:48 am Reply

    I agree with Mr. Stallworth and I am sickened! No mention of reparations or financial compensation when the absence lynching victims severely affected families on profound economic levels. What really burns me up are the 12 senators who wouldn’t sign the apology. You are an elected official representing your state in Washington and you are in 2017 basically saying that: We should not have to say that this country owes an apology to, acknowledge, or therefore admit to lynching practices in the period stated that were done to Blacks. It hurts and burns me up.

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