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Campaign Launched to Remove "Slavery" From Colorado's Constitution

Joey Bunch
The Denver Post

Yet another ballot measure could be coming to the November ballot in Colorado. This week a campaign was launched to have a reference to slavery removed from the state’s constitution, reports The Denver Post.

The disputed clause, written in 1876, states: “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime.”

The mention of slavery in this case is actually a reference to prison labor. Critics, however, insist the reference is unnecessary and conjures up echoes of troubling chapters in our nation’s past. During the last legislative session, both chambers of the Colorado legislature voted unanimously to put the constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Rep. Jovan Melton, a Democrat, said the issue is personal for him. Melton is descended of slaves freed in North Carolina by the Emancipation Proclamation. He said, “It doesn’t make any sense for the state of Colorado to say that slavery is OK in certain circumstances.”