Calling slavery an “egregious sin,” Markell said it cannot be separated from the challenges facing modern America in ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to pursue his or her potential.
“A candid acknowledgment and acceptance of our past is the only way to understand our present and to take full responsibility for our future,” he said.
Along with signing the resolution, which was passed by state lawmakers last month, Markell presented a proclamation recognizing African American History Month. He also joined Delaware State University Harry Williams in unveiling an exhibit at the state archives commemorating the 125th anniversary of historically black school.
The resolution apologizing for slavery is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting “reconciliation and healing.” It states that the General Assembly intends that it not be used in, or be the basis for, any litigation.
According to the resolution, legislatures in eight other states also have apologized for their roles in slavery.
Nationally, congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately in the House in 2008 and the Senate the following year, but the two measures have never been reconciled into a single version to be submitted to the president for his signature.