Panel Passes Resolution Apologizing for Virginia's Role in Sanctioning Slavery

Virginia lawmakers passed a resolution Wednesday that would express "profound regret" for Virginia's role in sanctioning slavery.

The House Rules Committee sent the measure to the House floor on a unanimous voice vote.

The resolution originally called on Virginia to "atone" for slavery, and then supporters changed the wording to express "contrition" after some lawmakers raised concerns that atonement could be interpreted as requiring reparations.

Delegate John O'Bannon offered another substitute today to change the wording to "profound regret" instead of "contrition." He said his wording mirrors the phrase that was used in a resolution several years ago apologizing the for the state's involvement in eugenics — the forced sterilization of more than seven-thousand Virginians between 1924 and 1979.

Both Richmond Democrats who sponsored the resolution — Delegate Donald McEachin and Senator Henry Marsh — said they had no objections to the wording change approved by the committee.

Marsh said he will amend the Senate version of the resolution to conform to the House version.