An official apology for slavery and Jim Crow from the U.S. House of Representatives provoked mixed emotions in Philadelphia recently.
For J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP, the apology was a publicity stunt.
“It’s too late, too little,” said Mondesire. “It was a stunt.”
Emphasizing that he was speaking personally and not for the NAACP, he continued by saying that a more appropriate gesture would be “a serious conversation about reparations. But I don’t think that will happen.” The House formally apologized to African Americans and their ancestors for slavery July 29.
The House of Representatives acted alone with the Senate remaining silent.
For Karen Warrington, a spokeswoman for Rep. Bob Brady, the vote was a first step.
“I think that the vote was a step in the right direction and that America has to acknowledge the evils of slavery,” said Warrington, she was speaking personally, not as Brady’s representative.
If the apology opens a dialogue on slavery and its evils, then it will have been a good thing.
You know I was with Mr. Mondesire until he had to mention reparations. Yeah we should discuss that, especially the fairness of it. Who should pay reparations? Who should be responsible for this unfortunate institution or practice in American history? For me to support reparations those are some answers I would like to see.