Sen. Barry Loudermilk held a press conference Thursday to announce the filing of Senate Resolution 28, the first official acknowledgement of the injustices of slavery and an official expression of regret and remorse for the condoning of the institution of slavery in Georgia.
If passed, this joint resolution will mark the first official acknowledgement of the injustices of slavery and an official
expression of regret and remorse for the condoning of the institution of slavery in Georgia, Loudermilk said.
“The injustices brought on by the institution of slavery in our state’s past stands in stark opposition to the principles on which this nation was founded,” Loudermilk said. “According to our founding documents, the sole responsibility of government is to preserve the God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Since the abolition of slavery, there have been several attempts by the General Assembly to apologize for Georgia’s previous involvement in slavery. Most recently, HR 295 was filed in the House of Representatives in 2009, but never made it to the floor for a vote.
“I am optimistic that my colleagues in both chambers will recognize the significance of this resolution, and we will work together in a strong bipartisan effort to pass it in this legislative session,” said Loudermilk. “Many people have worked together in drafting this resolution, including legislators, Georgia citizens and members of the clergy.”
Loudermilk, R-Cassville, represents the 14th Senate District, which includes portions of Cherokee, Bartow and Cobb counties.
Whereas, the United States of America was founded upon the self evident truth that all men are created equal and they are endowed, by God, with unalienable rights, and these rights are given equally to all men; and Whereas, the Founding Fathers of this nation firmly held to the principle that these rights are to be exercised freely by all men, only abridged or constrained as necessary to protect these rights, according to the “laws of nature and of nature’s God;” and Whereas, any restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient to the preservation of these rights is an act of tyranny or oppression; and
Whereas, according to the Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted among men to preserve these rights,” which include the right to live in liberty and free from oppression, and the right to pursue happiness; and
Whereas, according to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia, it is the responsibility of our government to “secure the blessings of liberty” and “by relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God,” this government shall “transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty;” and Whereas, our Founding Fathers recognized, through the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, that our rights are given, not by the state, but by God and, although certain rights may not be enumerated in the Constitution of the United States, they belong to the people and are to be duly protected; and Whereas, James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony of Georgia in 1732, recognized these universal truths and therefore banned the practice of slavery in that colony; and
Whereas, Georgia remained a free colony until 1751 when, under royal decree, the government departed from the long recognized principles of liberty and justice for all men and, under the growing pressure of plantation owners in other Southern colonies, legalized the involuntary servitude of certain races of humans; and Whereas, during the convening of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates from Georgia opposed the condemnation of slavery, included in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was thereafter removed; and Whereas, the practice of slavery was sanctioned, condoned and perpetuated through the laws of this state until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution on December 18, 1865; and Whereas, while even the most abject apology cannot right the transgressions, injustices and oppressive acts of the past, the spirit of true repentance can promote reconciliation among all people and avert the repetition of past injustices for future generations; Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED BY THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY that the State of Georgia hereby acknowledges, as was written in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, that the act of slavery is a “cruel warfare against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty,” and; therefore, this state expresses profound remorse and lamentations for the past practice of involuntary servitude instituted, condoned and maintained through the laws of this state; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that through the spirit of repentance and reconciliation “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” and the government of this state shall hitherto commit itself to the preservation and protection of the natural rights of all people, and to the propagation of the ideals of liberty and justice for all mankind.