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Democrat wants Georgia to formally apologize for slavery

June 28, 2013 Atlanta - Rep. Tyrone Brooks waits for the panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal before a hearing on Friday, June 28, 2013. The panel of Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, and Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, all voted not to suspend Brooks, Gov. Nathan Deal's office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Brooks, D-Atlanta, faces 30 federal charges of wire, tax and mail fraud related to his work with a pair of charities. The U.S. Attorney's office alleges that Brooks used contributions meant for those charities for his personal expenses. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Former Rep. Tyrone Brooks in 2013 (AJC file/Hyosub Shin)
June 28, 2013 Atlanta - Rep. Tyrone Brooks waits for the panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal before a hearing on Friday, June 28, 2013. The panel of Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, and Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, all voted not to suspend Brooks, Gov. Nathan Deal's office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Brooks, D-Atlanta, faces 30 federal charges of wire, tax and mail fraud related to his work with a pair of charities. The U.S. Attorney's office alleges that Brooks used contributions meant for those charities for his personal expenses. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Former Rep. Tyrone Brooks in 2013 (AJC file/Hyosub Shin)

Credit: Jim Galloway

Credit: Jim Galloway

A Democratic lawmaker is set to propose that Georgia adopt a resolution formally apologizing for slavery and segregation-era laws that left an "unbearable" legacy for blacks in the state.

State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, sent over a copy of legislation he intends to file before the start of January's session that would express "profound regret for Georgia's role in slavery" and acknowledges moral and legal injustices perpetrated by the state government on slaves.

The proposal, which you can read here, is modeled after similar apologies adopted by lawmakers in Virginia, Alabama and elsewhere. Brooks, the head of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, pushed for an apology in Georgia in 2007, but it failed to reach a vote.

"I'm not sure what we ought to be apologizing for," then-House Speaker Glenn Richardson said at the time. "Nobody here was in office."

It's one of several proposals brought by Brooks meant to fire up the party's base. He has also introduced legislation that would raise the minimum wage and another that seeks to ban police from racial profiling.

It comes as Brooks faces an April trial on federal fraud charges accusing him of bilking funds while working for nonprofits. He has pleaded not guilty and said he had poor bookkeeping skills but that he broke no laws.

Here's a few key passages from the proposal:

...

WHEREAS, the perpetual pain, distrust, and bitterness of many African-Americans could be assuaged and the principles espoused by the Founding Fathers would be affirmed, and great strides toward unifying all Georgians and inspiring the nation to acquiesce might be accomplished, if on the eve of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, the state acknowledged and atoned for its pivotal role in the slavery of Africans.

 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that this body expresses profound regret for this state's participation in the process of slavery, further atones for the involuntary servitude of Africans, and calls for reconciliation among all Georgians.

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