Yesterday evening, the New Jersey state legislature passed a resolution offering “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery, and saying that the legislature “apologizes” for the harm caused by slavery and its aftermath in the U.S.

New Jersey thus became the first state north of the Mason-Dixon line to apologize for slavery. In the past year, five other states have offered various forms of apology for slavery, including Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Maryland.

The New Jersey Assembly had passed the resolution out of committee last week, and it was necessary for the full Assembly, as well as the state Senate, to pass the resolution before the legislative session expired today.

The state Assembly passed the resolution 59-8, with eight abstentions, and the state Senate passed the measure 29-2, without debate.

New Jersey’s history of slavery is particularly troubling, and the arguments by those on both sides of the resolution were fascinating.

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