New Jersey's Legislature made the Garden
State the first Northern state to apologize for slavery Monday night.
By a 59-8 vote, the Assembly approved a resolution expressing
profound regret for New Jersey's participation in the slave
trade centuries ago.
The Senate passed the measure later, 29-2.
Supporters argued the apology would help New Jersey profess
remorse for its slave trade involvement. Opponents said the apology
would be a meaningless gesture.
Assemblyman Richard Merkt said America has never accepted the
notion of collective guilt.
Legislators in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia
have issued formal apologies for slavery. A similar effort stalled
in the Georgia Legislature.
The New Jersey measure is proposed as a resolution used to
express the Legislature's opinion without requiring action by the
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