Similar measures have been introduced in the Georgia General Assembly before, but none have passed. Senate Resolution 28, sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and others, stops short of apologizing for slavery. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constituion, “Loudermilk believes it’s not realistic for the current Legislature to apologize for acts of past lawmakers.”
Here’s the text of the resolution, which notes the colony of Georgia’s orginal ban on slavery (that didn’t last long. In fact, Savannah was built by slaves before the official ban was lifted in 1751).
By: Senators Loudermilk of the 14th, Ligon, Jr. of the 3rd, Heath of the 31st, Crane of the 28th, Hill of the 32nd and others
Expressing remorse for the state’s past practice of condoning involuntary servitude; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, the Founding Fathers of this nation firmly held to the principle that these rights are to be exercised freely by all men, only abridged or constrained as necessary to protect these rights, according to the “laws of nature and of nature’s God”; and
WHEREAS, any restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient to the preservation of these rights is an act of tyranny or oppression; and WHEREAS, according to the Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted among men to preserve these rights,” which include the right to live in liberty and free from oppression, and the right to pursue happiness; and
WHEREAS, according to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia, it is the responsibility of our government to “secure the blessings of liberty” and “by relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God,” this government shall “transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty”; and
WHEREAS, our Founding Fathers recognized, through the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, that our rights are given, not by the state, but by God and, although certain rights may not be enumerated in the Constitution of the United States, they belong to the people and are to be duly protected; and
WHEREAS, James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony of Georgia in 1732, recognized these universal truths and therefore banned the practice of slavery in that colony; and
WHEREAS, Georgia remained a free colony until 1751 when, under royal decree, the government departed from the long recognized principles of liberty and justice for all men
and, under the growing pressure of plantation owners in other Southern colonies, legalized the involuntary servitude of certain races of humans; and
WHEREAS, during the convening of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delagates from Georgia opposed the condemnation of slavery, included in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was thereafter removed; and
WHEREAS, the practice of slavery was sanctioned, condoned, and perpetuated through the laws of this state until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution on December 18, 1865; and
WHEREAS, while even the most abject apology cannot right the transgressions, injustices, and oppressive acts of the past, the spirit of true repentance can promote reconciliation among all people and avert the repetition of past injustices for future generations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF
GEORGIA that the State of Georgia hereby acknowledges, as was written in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, that the act of slavery is a “cruel warfare against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty”; therefore, this state expresses profound remorse and lamentations for the past practice of involuntary servitude instituted, condoned, and maintained through the laws of this state.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that through the spirit of repentance and reconciliation “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” and the government of this state shall hitherto commit itself to the preservation and protection of the natural rights of all people and to the propagation of the ideals of liberty and justice for all mankind.
To view the resolution online, click here.
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