Va. 1st state to express 'regret' over slavery
Wendy Koch in USA Today
""Sorry" may be too expensive a word.
Once the heart of the Confederacy, Virginia has become the first state to express remorse for its past support of slavery, an action other states are in line to follow. The General Assembly passed a resolution of "profound regret" for "the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans."
Virginia, which passed its resolution without objection Saturday, went further than any state has gone. This year, though, states and cities across the country are considering resolutions, launching studies and taking other actions to recognize slavery in their history.
Most are stopping short of apologizing. The Virginia resolution's authors, both great-grandsons of slaves, sought "atonement" for slavery but say they were told the word could prompt claims for reparations — monetary compensation — to the descendants of slaves. The definition of "atonement," according to Webster's New World College Dictionary, includes "satisfaction given for wrongdoing."
"This is as close as we can get to an apology in Virginia," says the Senate author, Democrat Henry Marsh III, a civil rights lawyer. "I feel vindicated." (read entire article)