House panel advances resolution apologizing for slavery

The House State Government Committee has launched toward passage a resolution expressing “profound regret” for Tennessee’s involvement in slavery and “solemn apologies for the official acts that sanctioned and perpetuated the denial of basic human rights and dignity to fellow human beings.”

The resolution (HJR847) is sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville, who had raised the idea last month when the House approved a resolution by House Republican Caucus Glen Casada expressing the state’s regret for the “trail of tears” removal of Indians from Tennessee in the early 1800s.

“While no apology for past wrongs could ever right them, a spirit of true repentance on behalf of a government can help to speed racial reconciliation and healing; it is hoped that by acknowledging a grievous past we will better avoid future human tragedies,” says the slavery resolution.

The measure was approved without debate and now goes to the House Calendar Committee for scheduling a floor vote.

Turner said earlier that Tennessee is one of few, if any, Southern states expressing official regret for the practice of slavery.