The Maryland State AFL-CIO Blog

Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Whereas, between 1619 and 1865, millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the 13 colonies and the United States; and

Whereas, this system of slavery is recognized as being the most brutal, dehumanizing and humiliating known to history, as people were sold at auction as chattel, killed at will and families torn apart; and

Whereas, after 246 years of legally sanction slavery and the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment, prohibiting slavery except as punishment for a crime; and after emancipation, African Americans saw the hope and promises of ‘freedom’ diminished by “Jim Crow” and a system of Black Codes that established a horrific system of race separation and segregation in all areas of American life; and

Whereas, African Americans still suffer from the evils of slavery and “Jim Crow”, as evidenced negatively in social and economic indicators, resulting in the loss of income, quality of life and dignity; and,

Whereas, the realities of slavery and ‘Jim Crow’ and their lingering practices and effects must not be purged or left out of the telling of our American story, or the progress of its peoples; and

Whereas, in 2003, President Bush appropriately stated that:  Slavery was .… one of the greatest crimes of history….And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times.  But however long the journey, our destiny is set:  liberty and justice for all”; and

Whereas, the National AFL-CIO in 2015 established its Commission on Race and the Economy, acknowledging that:  “America’s legacy of racism and racial injustice has been and continues to be a fundamental obstacle to workers’ efforts to act together…..We have to find a way to see with each other’s eyes, and address the facts and realities….The fight against racism is about whom we choose to be….To that end, it is time for a frank and thoughtful discussion on racial inequality;”

Now Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO commits to the furtherance of that discussion and will seek to enhance that discussion, and strengthen the unity among workers, by acknowledging and stating unequivocally that the Enslavement of Africans in the United States of America Was Wrong! And,

Therefore Be It Finally Resolved, that we will popularize this acknowledgement at all levels of the union movement and in our communities, using this acknowledgement to help guide us in our continuing discussions and the search for equitable solutions to our country’s ongoing racial challenges.