Many people are familiar with H.R. 40, the perennial House bill proposing a commission to examine the legacy of slavery and possible remedies. Rep. John Conyers (D), currently chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced this bill in every Congress since 1989. (The bill number is chosen to reflect the phrase “forty acres and a mule,” which came to symbolize the brief and unrealized promise of compensation to slaves freed after the Civil War.)

There are two other major items pending in the U.S. House which also bear on slavery and the slave trade:

H.R. 3432 would establish a commission to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the U.S. abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in January. The bill is currently before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

H.Res. 194 would have the House of Representatives acknowledge the long history of slavery and discrimination, apologize for that history, and commit to eliminating the lingering effects on today’s society. The bill is currently before the House Committee on the Judiciary.

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