Today has been an historic day in Washington, D.C.

Representative John C0nyers, Jr. (D-Michigan) chaired an Oversight Hearing on the Legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. The purpose of the hearing was to consider H.R. 40, The Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, a bill Conyers has introduced in every congress since 1989 but has never had a hearing until now.

Conyers pointed out that thirteen days from now, January 1, 2008, will mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the United States.

My cousin James wrote about the distinguished witness list for the hearing at his blog yesterday. You can watch the hearing now via video webcast.

This was the first hearing. I’m certain it will not be the last.