The House of Representatives issued a groundbreaking apology to African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws.

“Today represents a milestone in our nation’s efforts to remedy the ills of our past,” Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said.

Although the unprecedented federal apology doesn’t mention reparations for the suffering caused to black Americans and their ancestors, Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen (pictured with Barack Obama), who spearheaded the resolution, said, “Slavery and Jim Crow are stains upon what is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.”

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The House of Representatives is set to pass a resolution that would apologize to African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow, according to CNN.

Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee, introduced the nonbinding resolution. If passed, it will be the first time a branch of the federal government will apologize for slavery.

By passing the resolution, the House will acknowledge the “injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow,” an aide to Cohen said.

This piece of legislation has the Internet buzzing, with the Washington Post‘s readers sparking serious debates on Ben Pershing’s “Capitol Briefing” blog.

In response to another Pershing reader–who asked why we can’t “just move on” since it’s been 140 years since slavery–a commenter, who calls him/herself “Black and Bitter Like Coffee,” said:

We can “just move on” when America owns its role for slavery in America and the results of forcibly taking men, women and children from their native continent so that white America can become the privileged class. When white America learn to refuse and give up their benefits of “white privilege”, then we can “move on.” Until then, the division will exist. It’s that simple.

PHOTO: Karen Walker’s “The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven” (1995)

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