Statement by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005; 8:35 AM

To make clear my abhorrence of lynching, I said in February that I would vote for the resolution apologizing for the Senate's failure, in 1937, to pass an anti-lynching law. I did not cosponsor this resolution because I prefer a different approach. That is one of the reasons why I have introduced, with the support of 35 Senate cosponsors, S.RES.44 condemning lynching, celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans and recommitting the Senate to improving health, education and job opportunities for African Americans and all Americans.

I have lived long enough to see and to try to correct many injustices. In 1962 when I was the student newspaper editor, Vanderbilt University's undergraduate school was segregated. I could have apologized for the actions of the board of trust; instead, I helped integrate the school.

Instead of apologizing for my predecessors as governor of Tennessee and president of the University of Tennessee, I appointed the first African American Supreme Court Justice and university vice presidents. Instead of apologizing for Tennessee legislators who had refused to enact the Martin Luther King Holiday, I helped make it law. I did not think it was effective merely to apologize for what others had failed to do.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company