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Saturday, April 13, 2024

On Wednesday, more than 140 years after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the state Legislature passed a resolution apologizing for Florida's role in slavery.

We'll just get the obvious out of the way first: It took lawmakers far too long to do this.

In fact, The Miami Herald reported that some black lawmakers had been pushing this legislation for years - let's repeat that - for years.

Why their colleagues weren't sold on the idea from Day 1 is beyond us. In fact, state Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, wasn't aware of the horrors of slavery, the Herald reported. So maybe some lawmakers just needed a history lesson.

In any case, we appreciate the Legislature's symbolic gesture. Other Southern states have passed similar resolutions in recent years, and South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Capitol dome in 2000.

Of course, this symbolism does nothing to restitute or repair what was done. But it does offer some element of responsibility for atrocities that, for too long, no one took responsibility for.

Enter the key word: reparations. Gov. Charlie Crist said he would not rule out the idea of paying reparations to descendants of slaves. Of course, if it took the Legislature this long to pass a simple apologetic resolution, Crist would be long gone before lawmakers even considered the issue.

While Crist and Co. were all in agreement in Tallahassee, the resolution certainly won't go over well with everyone.

Some would argue that the great-great-descendants of someone don't need to apologize to the great-great descendants of someone else for anything. But we would point out that since slavery was abolished, racism and injustice didn't go with it.

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