Wisconsin Senate Chamber | State Department photo by Ron Przysucha
A Republican-backed resolution to recognize Black History Month passed the Senate Tuesday on a 21-12 party line vote. The resolution was the product of a significant divide in the Legislature over whether and how to recognize Black History Month and arose independently of the Legislative Black Caucus (LBC), which traditionally circulates annual Black History Month resolutions.
While Black History Month resolutions typically list numerous individuals to honor, the Republican-crafted resolution does not. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin), like past resolutions, acknowledged the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which is estimated to have resulted in the enslavement of over 12 million people. But in stark contrast to a resolution circulated by the LBC, which listed numerous people it sought to honor including police chiefs, heads of state, activists, preachers and athletes, Bradley’s resolution does not honor any modern figures.
Democrats tried to offer an amendment to the Republican resolution listing the individuals the Black Caucus sought to honor. The amendment was rejected and the resolution passed without it.
Last year, Wisconsin Republicans refused to accept resolutions introduced by the Black Caucus which honored numerous activists as well as people who had been killed or wounded by police. Instead, the GOP pushed a resolution to honor radio host Rush Limbaugh, despite his long history of racially derogatory commentary on his program.
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