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Oklahoma Senate finally formally denounces Crow laws

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It took 100 years to do it, but the Oklahoma Senate finally formally denounced the first piece of legislation the body ever created: "Jim Crow" laws.

 

You read that right: the first. In 1908, the fledgling state that once had been considered a potential haven for black people turned around and slapped segregation on education and public transportation in Senate Bill 1.

 

Last week, a century later, legislators made their first order of business declaring those former laws "and all their vestiges abhorrent and repugnant to today's chambers."

 

Written by Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, and Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay, the measure states the Legislature begins a new century "free from any and all racial bias or prejudice and takes this opportunity to declare its intention to remain so during all future operations." (That's a relief.)

 

The declaration, Senate Concurrent Resolution 49, passed unanimously, 48-0. It also lauds the state's black leaders " Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, Clara Luper, Roscoe Dunjee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and more " who helped break down the racist laws.

 

Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, one of the Senate's two black members, commended Garrison for the new measure, The Oklahoman reported.

 

"I think most Oklahomans are clearly aware of that chapter not only in Oklahoma's, but America's history," she said. "While this action does not erase the past, it serves as a reminder of the depths we have endured and overcome in our state's first 100 years, and, more importantly, the heights we can achieve in our next 100 years."

 

We at CFN can't think of a better way to start off February, Black History Month. At the same time, we're wondering why the Senate had to wait 100 years to do this. Some things are worth declaring before anniversary mile-markers hit.

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