Payne said slaves, unlike other new arrivals to America, “weren’t welcomed by the Statue of Liberty.” He showed pictures depicting suffering slaves jammed into ship holds.
“Like it or not, New Jersey had a role in all of this,” Payne said. “There is much for the state to atone for.”
The measure was backed by Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, a Newark group that advocates against poverty and racism.
“It is the right thing to do,” Hamm said. “It is always the right thing to do to recognize when a wrong has been done and then take steps to correct that injustice.”