The Connecticut House of Representatives voted unanimously today in favor of a resolution declaring “profound contrition” for the state legislature’s historic role in slavery and racial discrimination.

Connecticut would become the second northern state, after New Jersey, and the first state in New England, to apologize for its role in slavery and discrimination.

In the last two years, seven states have issued such apologies, and other states have been considering their own apologies. The U.S. House of Representatives apologized for slavery and discrimination last July, and senators from both parties have announced their intention to introduce a similar apology in the U.S. Senate.

The joint resolution of the Connecticut General Assembly was the subject of a committee hearing in March, and had been awaiting action by the full House. The resolution must now be taken up by the state senate before the legislative session expires on June 3.

State Rep. Kenneth Green (D-Hartford), a sponsor of the resolution, emphasized the importance of acknowledging our history:

When I talk to people today, and they say, “Why today, what does an apology mean?”, one of the things that I particularly [point out] is that in order to move on sometimes you have to acknowledge that mistakes have been made.

State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D-New London), who bears the last name of the family who owned one of his ancestors, explained that the apology is being issued on behalf of the state legislature, and not of any individuals alive today:

There is no one living in this state of Connecticut that I blame for what happened to my ancestors, no one in this chamber … but this body allowed something to go on that they knew was wrong, and all I’m asking for is a simple apology.

While the unanimous vote was followed by a standing ovation, legislators also inserted a provision, often found in other state apologies, indicating that the apology is not intended to provide support for legal actions, including those claiming reparations for slavery.

Connecticut took up slavery in early colonial times and did not abolish the practice until 1848.

7 Responses to “Connecticut House votes to apologize for slavery”

  1. Daily News About Politics : A few links about Politics - Thursday, 21 May 2009 19:49 says:

    […] Connecticut House votes to apologize for slavery […]

  2. When did the North give up slavery? | The Living Consequences says:

    […] I wrote about the slavery apology passed by the Connecticut House of Representatives and, because it was a breaking story, had to […]

  3. Connecticut apologizes for slavery | The Living Consequences says:

    […] Late last night, as the 2009 regular legislative session was about to end, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve the joint resolution of apology which was passed by the state’s House of Representatives two weeks ago. […]

  4. stella antley says:

    I write on behalf of the Slave Holding Me as an infant and is my Great, Great Grandmother to speak on her behalf as I believe she would me to say thank you and this Apology has been a long time coming…I don’t know if the parable to error is human, to forgive divine because Slavery was and is the worst of man’s inhumanity.towards their fellow man. Only the Creator can truly forgive. As God said…To know Me is to Know My Creations. This is beginning of what I hope will be the first step towards the long journey so long overdue and so necessary for healing for everyone. I believe she would want me to say that.

    THE Slave holding me lived to be 111 years of age and is seen holding me as an infant in a rare, especially for a Slave, 5 Generation Black History Family Heirloom Portriat. She was also the first Midwife in 1870s delivering all of the babies both Black and White before the town was even founded, in Gastonia, NC.
    On August 29th @ 3pm in front of the Amistad Slaveship Memorial, I will accept the Apology for Slavery, on her Behalf. Located at 165 Church St, New Haven CT across from City Hall. Hon Senator Toni Harp will present the Apology on behalf of the CT General Assembly.

    My name is Stella Antley…thank you

  5. James DeWolf Perry says:

    Thank you for posting this moving tribute to your great-great-grandmother, Ms. Antley. I am very glad to hear that you will be receiving Connecticut's apology on her behalf.

    Sen. Toni Harp, who is deputy president pro tem of the Connecticut State Senate, participated in a Tracing Center program I ran with Katrina Browne last year for the Connecticut General Assembly, on the legacy of slavery in the North and the nation, and she spoke movingly of the challenge we still face as a society in overcoming our shared legacy of race. I can't imagine anyone more fitting to present the apology on behalf of the General Assembly.

  6. Danna Martin says:

    Hello Stella ,My Name is Dr Danna K Martin /The grand son to the late Mr Ernest McClee and Mrs Maggie McClee /and the Great grand son to the Late Ms Charlotte McClee ,the mother to The Late Mrs Jessie McClee Friday and the late Ms Mary McClee And Mr Ernest McClee who served in world War 1. I'm the son to the late Rev Clarence Dean Martin Senior and the late Mrs Doretha Martin who was the daughter to the late Mr Ernest McClee who is the son of Ms Charlotte McClee> There are two living Grand daughters to Ms Charlotte McClee Ms Earnestine McClee Mills and Mrs Modena McClee Brown and a host relatives> I too have photos of Grama Charlotte handed down to me from her looka like Grand daughter Mrs Doretha Martin, I remember your brother Joe Antley who played drums for Major Lance>last I saw Joe Was in the 70s .The Oldest cousin on my Grand father side is Doris/as you well know Longevity runs on the McClee side of the Family>I was Three years old when Grand ma Charlotte past away. Her funeral was at United House of Prayer for All people. I was in attendance .. I can be reach at 704-777-6745 . would love to connect with you and family email / Hope to hear from you soon God Bless

  7. stella antley says:

    My name is Stella Antley and I have a Slave holding me as an infant and on August 29, 2013, I was presented the Connecticut General Assembly’s Apology for Slavery, on behalf of the Slave, my Great, Great Grandmother.

    This is a first step which has taken 150 in the making…we must carpe diem and seek atonement and reparation.

    Thank yyou for your interest and desire to get involved in a just cause and please feel free to contact me, at or tele 8608343614…I can use all the help and support this lofty journey for justice and contrition this March will take…yours in the struggle, Stella for the Slave

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