Bernie Sanders committed tonight to formally apologizing for slavery on behalf of the United States if he becomes president.
Sanders told heavily black audience that Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, ‘There’s nothing that anybody can do to undo the deaths and misery, how many people we don’t even know who died on the way over here in the ships.’
But the United States has to make an attempt to ‘wipe the slate clean’ by acknowledging the truth, he said after an audience member asked him point blank if he’d offer a presidential-level apology and he said, ‘Yes.’
And while the U.S. Senator does not support reparations in the form of a check for the inhumane treatment of Africans before the end of the Civil War, he does believe the government should invest in low-income communities, many of which are black, and he reiterated that point tonight.
‘I think my view is pretty close to President Obama’s,’ he told another attendee, Catherine Hicks, of the Philadelphia Sunday SUN newspaper, a local African-American publication. ‘And that is we aunderstand the legacy of slavery.
‘We understand that.’
He directed their attention to remarks he’d already made that evening about the problems plaguing black areas and said, ‘As everybody in this room knows, what were seeing in many African-American communities, outrageously high levels of unemployment, inadequate education, inadequate healthcare.
‘I think what we have got to do as a nation is invest in those communities who need that…investment the most.’
Communities with ‘long-term structural’ issues should ‘become the communities that receive the highest priority for federal’ assistance, he argued.
‘Let us make sure that in every way, federal funding goes to those communities who need it the most,’ Sanders, said, adding that ‘in most cases, though’ those areas are inhabited by blacks.
Sanders came under scrutiny earlier this year from some blacks on the left after he said at an event that traditional reparations are a dead-end issue with Congress.
Bill Clinton apologized in Africa in 1998 for the slave trade but the Office of the President and the government have not officially said sorry